Should ACT/SAT be required for colleges?

Yes,

ACT Inc. recently announced that starting in September 2020, the ACT will begin having section retesting and superscoring. This means that students who have taken a full ACT test will have the opportunity to retest individual sections, so that the lengthy testing time is no longer an issue. The official testing site, act.org said “ACT Section Retesting helps students focus study efforts on individual subjects that are part of the ACT test (English, math, reading, science, or writing) without having to study for the entire test again.”

Conflicts like this bring back the highly debated argument of whether or not colleges should require ACT or SAT scores to be sent when applying. Standardized tests were created to even playing field to highlight a students’ academic abilities. High schools use all sorts of grading scales and almost none of them overlap with each other, meaning that a student getting a B from one high school might be a better fit for a college than a student getting a B from a different part of the country. Admissions officers should not have to worry about judging a student incorrectly because they use a different grading scale than an average school, which is why the SAT and ACT are so important when applying for college.

Having the chance to apply the strategies that are taught in high school with the intention of colleges seeing them is helpful. We spend years in English classes learning how to annotate passages and properly analyze them, so we should get the chance to display what we have learned for admissions officers to see.

Aside from allowing college admissions officers to not solely use grades, scores are used to determine scholarships for students. If standardized tests are edged out, it will be harder to determine who should receive merit based scholarships if they are not given the opportunity to showcase their strengths. “They shouldn’t take away sending ACT to colleges because some people really depend on scholarships that they may not offer if they do not receive additional academic information,” senior Andy Ram said.

Raising and maintaining a GPA is difficult for high schoolers, so submitting another measure of intellect to colleges can boost students’ chances for admission. Additionally, post-graduate education programs including medical school and law school require exams parallel to these in order to be admitted. If students are not exposed to this kind of testing and are not prepared to be examined this way, these tests will be significantly more challenging and students will struggle more in rigorous testing situations. “In the future I plan to take the LSAT for law school and then the BAR exam, so I think this exposure to standardized tests is really helpful for students,” a senior who wished to remain anonymous said.

~ Emily Eichberg
editor-in-chief

No,

Getting into college is definitely the most anxious time or expectation of any high school student. Grades, social service hours, extracurriculars, and effort put into school all shapes you into going to the college that most suits you.

To decrease anxiety, the SAT should no longer be required on college applications. The SAT is used for college admission; it helps colleges easily see where you stand academically, but it is too stressful. SAT books are up to 1000 pages. Junior Thomas F. Adams said, “The test is just useless, I honestly just think it’s a waste of my time, but I’m still forced to study for it.”

Students already give effort and dedication into their grades and putting the pressure of the SAT or ACT on top of a student is unnecessary. More and more colleges and universities, up to 150 currently, are slowly deciding to become “test optional,” because they have seen that students can have average grades and only rely on the SAT scores to get them into college.

There are various stories of students or parents, who are in better condition financially, who have paid their way through the SAT and allowing their children to get perfect SAT scores. Schools have reinforced by ID checking and making sure they are a student of the school, but that doesn’t stop students from cheating their way around the test scores.

Removing the SAT would calm down students and loosen up the pressure of studying for the SAT along with their grades. Students would have a more comfortable way of concentrating in school and their outside activities, which then will result in better sleeping habits that most high school students don’t have.

Since the SAT is a timed test, students who have test anxiety have even more trouble taking this three-hour long test. Students have approximately 45 seconds to one minute to answer each question, but not just to answer the question. Schools have worked on removing clocks from rooms to provide students with less of a distraction. Junior Christopher Adams has already taken the SAT. “I was able to answer all the questions, but the timing and just knowing that we don’t have much time is kind of overwhelming,” Adams said.

According to College Transition, the choice of colleges and universities going into a “test optional” admission greatly improved diversity. When schools can’t remove grades, classes, and work loads for students, why not take away tests that universities are slowly seeing as not a requirement?

~ Beatriz Kim
staff writer

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