SAT tests don’t measure knowledge


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An exam sheet is filled during a standardized test. This year many students are preparing for standardized tests such as the SAT.

The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) system is always changing and adding different tests and graduation requirements to the curriculum. But the exams that have remained constant throughout have been the SAT and the ACT. Students are so used to hearing about how SAT scores determine their future, but is the SAT really worth it?

Many adults believe that the SAT is a great way to use standardized testing and give students across the country the same opportunities when applying for college. This however is not the case. SAT results are based off of a student’s SES, or socioeconomic status. The more money you have to spend on preparations and even the test itself the better your chances are of receiving your target score. Students who can pay the testing fee of over $50 over and over again will undoubtedly have a better score than those who can barely afford to take it once. When a student’s success is determined by the amount of money they can spend on practice books and other materials this puts many students at a severe disadvantage.

Scores can also greatly vary depending on a student’s stress level.The American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America survey says that 31% of teens report feeling overwhelmed and 30% feel depressed or sad as a result of stress during the school year. Those students who cannot deal with the stress of taking the SAT often see a decline in their overall health as the test approaches. The annual Stress in America survey shows that more than one-third of teens report feeling fatigued or  tired and about one-quarter of teens report skipping a meal due to stress.

Many students aren’t able to focus when they know that they are being timed or when they know that a certain time is their only chance to take the test because they can’t afford to pay the testing fee again.  

Therefore when colleges look at SAT or ACT scores they don’t see the full picture. Looking at GPA scores would be a much better indicator for colleges to see the true abilities of a student. When colleges look at SAT scores they can’t tell if a student is more adept in one area than another. A student’s GPA, however, does show these differences which makes it a much more accurate indicator of a student’s academic abilities.

With the SAT and ACT scores being heavily influenced by a student’s socioeconomic status and one’s ability to handle a large workload throughout the year, standardized testing definitely isn’t the best indicator of a student’s preparedness for college. It would be much more reasonable for admissions offices to look at a student’s whole transcript before making their decision on whether to admit them or not.