By Sharee Lopez
Is the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), really the best indicator of college success? I propose that college acheivment can be measured by success in the classroom itself. It seems unfair that a test can dictate your future and intimidate students who are deciding to apply to schools. Student’s, who are intelligent, but not savvy to the SAT, are getting left behind.
A perfect score on the SAT is a 2400, but the average test score is a 1538. The test can be taken as many times as a student desires, but the $49 fee can be costly for those who do not qualify for the fee waiver. Only students from low-income can qualify for the fee waiver and there are only four waivers available, two for the SAT and two for the SAT subject tests.
Public and private universities have shown us that the SAT is a key factor in determining the acceptance of a student. And if a student needs a free ride to an Ivy League school, an average SAT score will not cut it.
Even students from educated families that belong to a minority group are stressed by taking the test. From my bicultural perspective, I feel pressure to do well on the SAT given that I am half Asian and half Mexican and I want to prove the stereotype otherwise. Sometimes I feel unfair because kids from affluent families can have parents teaching him about grammar at an early age, while I was stuck in Head Start Program speaking only Spanish.
An article from the Education Portal expressed the same concerns, it said that “…test scores simply do not have predictive validity and therefore aren’t useful. Others note that these tests tend to favor students who attend affluent high schools with the resources to prepare students for the tests, thus putting low-income students at an even greater disadvantage in the college process”.
What tests are for? It should be used to assess students’ strengths and weaknesses. Not a one-time thing that determined your journey to higher education.
Luckily, schools seem to notice that and started to make changes. Some have begun to make the SAT test optional. For example, the University of California system considers SAT scores in addition to grade point average (GPA) and extracurricular activities. Other colleges have been accepting students with diverse backgrounds based on their school performance rather than solely on test scores.
Sharee Lopez is a fellow with New America Media’s Youth Education Fellowship. The fellowship is a six-month long program for youth reporters aged 16-24 on education reporting. It is sponsored by the California Education Policy Fund.