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The right choice is test optional


The junior year of high school is infamous for being the most stressful year of school that a student will go through. Especially in the second semester of junior year, where dreams are broken, motivation crumbles, and anxiety is at an all time high, students are expected to show their gathered knowledge during the notorious…soul crushing…energy draining standardized test. 

Schools such as George Washington University, University of Chicago, New York University, and other prestigious schools around the country are making submitting standardized test scores optional. Furthermore, as of May 2020, the University of California Board of Regents voted that submitting SAT and ACT scores aren’t required. This means that to apply to a school in the UC system, you don’t have to submit your standardized testing scores.

Was this the right decision moving forward?… I think so. 

According to Nick Anderson, writer for the Washington Post, “‘I feel like this year gave students a lot of confidence to apply to schools they really want to,’ [Akosa] Obianwu, [high school senior from Maryland] said. He bristled at the notion of being defined by the 1600-point SAT scale. ‘When you take away the score,’ he said, ‘they look more at the student.’”

It is very reasonable to believe that some students are just not great test takers. And one bad score on a test shouldn’t define how good or bad a student a person actually is. The test doesn’t prove how hard of a worker the student is, how much they have done for their community, and even if they are a well-rounded student. It simply proves whether that student got enough sleep the night before, ate something energizing for breakfast, and whether or not they struggle under the pressure of a timed test that they have been led to believe will determine their entire future.

Students that are able to receive tutoring in preparation of the exam usually have a decided advantage. Photo Courtesy of Mentatdgt of Pexels

Even the way some students are able to prepare for the tests and others aren’t, is simply unfair.

In an article by the Tower, Sophia Van Beek writes, “The College Board, which creates the SAT, collected data showing that students from families with an annual income of more than $200,000 scored an average of 388 points higher on the SAT than those from families making less than $20,000 annually.”

Just based on that, statistically, people that are in a higher financial class have a better chance of getting the score that they want on the SAT. As a result, this gives the students that aren’t as financially privileged a decided disadvantage because they don’t have thresorces to compete.

According to an article by Alina Tugend, writers for the Hechinger Report, writes, “Julia Tomasulo took the ACT three times, hoping to get the best possible score when applying for colleges. Even though she had good grades and was a two-sport athlete, ‘of the whole college process, the testing was the hardest,’ Tomasulo said. She took practice tests daily. Her parents spent about $3,500 on tutoring.”

The simple fact that Julia Tomasulo and many other privileged Americans are able to spend upwards of $3,000 just on tutoring for one or two tests is why the standardized testing system isn’t fair to all Americans. 

Students that are in a lower financial class than Tomasulo aren’t able to willingly spend thousands of dollars to prepare for a test. That money would be better put towards food, bills, and other basic resources that aren’t seen as heavy burdens to the more fortunate people or families in America. In comparison, the student that is able to afford thousands of dollars worth of tutoring and preparing for a test would do a lot better than the student that doesn’t have access to studying materials and has to go into the test blind.

So the decision by many schools not to require the submission of standardized test scores was the right decision because it will give a better and more fair evaluation of students.

Kofi Kessey, Staff Reporter

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The right choice is test optional