Opinion: Standardized testing should be optional

Standardized test form with answers bubbled in and a pencil, focus on anser sheet

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Standardized test form with answers bubbled in and a pencil, focus on anser sheet

Claudia Rivera

With the 2022 school year coming to a close, SAT/ACT testing has come to an end for seniors and starting to come to a close for juniors, opinions are varying on the College Board test. As someone who decided to not take the SAT and only took the PSAT twice, I can say it was because I do not like standardized tests or the process of it. I believe it is a good idea to keep up the optional SAT/ACT testing permanently for college applications. Standardized tests are indicative of a students ability in school nor does it reflect their intelligence. 

I talked to another student who has taken the SAT multiple times and she was stressed out with the process. Senior Olivia Larsen said, “It [the SAT] was stressful because my test kept getting canceled so I didn’t know if I would have enough time before having to submit my scores to college.” Many people had a very hard time getting a date for the SAT last year with the pandemic going on. College Board did not do a good job with trying to keep the process organized for students. With the test being rescheduled so many times, I think it made things a lot harder and more stressful than it even usually is. 

While the SAT/ACT can be very stressful there are definitely many tips that can help make the process better. Larsen said, “When you do practice problems or practice tests and you get something wrong, take the time to figure out why your answer is wrong and how to get to the right answer because that’s the best way to learn.” Junior Lukas Maarleveld, who recently took the test, said, “You should practice. Practice a lot because the test doesn’t really test your intelligence but rather how fast and efficiently you answer questions and practicing with a watch (timed) is another good strategy to use. Also make sure to read up on what material will be on there so it doesn’t catch you off guard.” 

I asked Larsen what she would change on the process of the SAT/ACT testing or if she would keep standardized testing and she said, “I think that there needs to be some way to put college applicants on the same playing level and standardized tests are a way of doing that but I also think that accessibility is a major flaw and hopefully the move to go digital will help with that. I think that there are racist and twisted origins to the standardized test that we use today because of who was commissioned by the college board to work on a test like the SAT. Research has been done to show that people with racial minorities score lower on the test even if they are given the same formal preparation because of bias in the way the questions are worded.”

In my view, standardized testing is very pointless because a lot of students have really bad test anxiety that doesn’t allow them to fully showcase their intelligence because of it. I think if a student has good grades then that should be what’s looked at and shown for their intelligence. It can be a really hard and stressful task for some students and then make them look bad for the schools they applied to all because of anxiety or just not being the best at standardized test taking. Adding in the test creation coming from racist origins I feel it should no longer be something that students have to work extra for, stress over, and pay money for.