Fix Opinion

SAT Not A Fair Judge For College Placement


By Cresonia Hsieh
Senior Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, Florida, U.S.A. – Upon
entering the barren classroom, anxiety runs high as students’ sharpened No. 2
pencils and calculators quiver and shake. For the test is merciless,
unrelenting, and unfortunately, is a major determinate in their future.
After a lifetime of schooling and
months of subject-specific preparation, the day has finally arrived for the
ultimate test of fate.
On this particular day, hundreds of
thousands of students from all over America and three other continents: Asia,
Europe, and Africa, will compete against one another for the test of their
lives: the SAT.
Globally renowned, the SAT is used
for the purpose of measuring the academic potential of high school students for
college achievement and plays a significant role in college admissions.
According to the College Board, since
the birth of the assessment in 1926, millions of students have taken these
tests and have been accepted into college partly based on their score. But
since then, some have questioned the legitimacy of the SAT due to unfair
advantages given to wealthier and more privileged students. They argue that use
of the test could prohibit the acceptance of some unprivileged but equally
capable applicants.
It is because of this that some would
like to see the abolishment of the SAT.
Although the SAT is an international
test and has been used for years to aid in leveling the playing field for
students, there is a significant difference in scores between the rich and the
poor. While it is uncertain if the average 405 point difference is due to
better schooling or inherited intelligence, there is no doubt that wealthier
children have an advantage that the poor do not: the money for test
After Kaplan opened its doors in 1945
to the rich college-bound students, juniors and seniors everywhere have relied heavily
on outside resources such as preparation books, classes, and even expensive
one-on-one private tutoring.
Meanwhile, disadvantaged teens must
solely rely on what they gathered from their years of schooling, without
tutors, classes, and perhaps without even test preparation books. The College
Board itself has even begun to offer study guides and online courses despite
their claim that the SAT is deemed uncoachable.
While it is true that the SAT allows
for the weeding out of potential students among thousands of applications, it
is also important to note that the lingering existence of the SAT is partially
credited to college rankings displayed by U.S
News and World Report
and Newsweek
These rankings use “student
selectivity” – how tough it is for a student to be admitted – for 15 percent of
their methodology. Hence, in order to advance in ranking, colleges may use the
SAT scores to weed out students, despite its inaccuracy and bias against
accepting other possible applicants who did not have the opportunity to afford
the test preparation.
This can result in less ethnic
diversity in colleges and a disregard for the potential of students who are merely
poor test takers or financially disadvantaged.
Because of this, there is a movement
among colleges and universities to eradicate the SAT from their applications.
As of last year, 850 colleges and universities had already done so, including
Bowdoin College, Wake Forest University, New York University, Middlebury
College, American University, Bates College, Bryn Mawr College, and many more.
Subsequently, these colleges and
universities have reported an improvement in the ethnic diversity of their
student body.
As it stands now, the existence of
the SAT may currently be threatening the future of many students because it offers
an unfair advantage to wealthier test takers.
By extracting the SAT, ethnic
diversity on college campuses would increase, and the school would have a
better chance to view potential students as they truly are.
Additionally, colleges and
universities may be wise to select students for merits other than test scores rather
than just trying to advance in rankings. English teachers who instruct only to
the test urge students to produce long, wordy missives rather than quality
With the removal of the SAT, there
may be a brighter future for economically disadvantaged students and
minorities, and for education itself.