Testing vouchers provide students new opportunities

Natinael Tilahun

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Photo courtesy of Cpl. Brian A. Stevens

There has always been financial burden that comes with taking the SAT and ACT. These vouchers hope to solve that problem and provide aid to more students.

The in-school SAT/ACT voucher given to high school students in Montgomery County provides a great opportunity to students and has a plethora of positive effects. The voucher is redeemable for one free attempt at either the SAT or ACT rather than paying anywhere between $46 and $64 to take the test. This voucher gives every student a fair chance in the college process, as the voucher takes away the possibility of a student not being able to take the exam due to financial issues. Although this does not completely level the playing field since some students have the luxury to take the test multiple times or have special tutoring associated with the test, while others don’t, it is a step in the right direction.

Furthermore, the voucher takes away another excuse for a student to not take the test. Students who are on the border of taking the standardized test or lack motivation no longer have the excuse of not wanting to waste money on an exam they might do badly on. With the voucher, they now have more encouragement to take it while not being obligated to, as forcing students would cause resentment.

Some might argue that the voucher is just another way for schools to shove standardized testing down the throats of its students. This could not be further from the truth as students aren’t forced to take the test, but rather, encouraged. Students still hold the power to ignore the voucher and not take the exam. The voucher simply provides an extra push to students who have interest and makes an attempt at taking out economic status as a possible barrier to an education everyone is entitled to.

Overall, the voucher is a tremendous resource with no real problem. Hopefully, MCPS will continue to give students beneficial opportunities similar to that of the free SAT/ACT voucher to decrease the achievement gap between those who take the test and those who don’t, or can’t due to financial burden.