Mary-Taylor F. Louisiana

Standardized Tests

Standardized tests play a tremendous role in what college we get into. Should our futures be so dependent on one score?

Dear Mr. or Madam President:

In our society, ACT and SAT scores play a tremendous role in what college we get into. Our score and sub-scores can make or break getting into our dream college, a college with a certain program we would like to go in, or a college we want to get into because it's close to home, etc. Students all over the country are affected by how important these scores are in getting into college, and many people believe that one test should not be worth all of the pressure. Others believe that standardized tests can determine how well the school's education is compared to other schools, and this is true, but how is this fair to students? Do our standardized tests determine our education ranking and placement or do they simply determine how well we are at taking tests?

In my little town of Ruston, Louisiana, standardized tests are thrown at us from the time we enter high school to the time we leave. Our teachers set up ACT prep class, arrange for us to take the ACT on campus, give us packets and worksheets to help raise our score, and use the curriculum for subjects that would be on the ACT in everyday classes, so you can imagine why there is so much pressure on us to make a good score. Albert Einstein once said, "I believe in standardizing automobiles. I do not believe in standardizing human beings. Standardization is a great peril which threatens American culture." Standardizing human beings is a dangerous and degrading act, and it can make students think poorly of themselves. A lot of students fall under the stress, and begin to think that this one score defines them and how smart they are. We stress and study and take classes just to feel better about one score. Raising our test score, however, is not the only thing we are expected to do during high school. We are expected to keep our grades up, study for countless hours, get involved in extra-curricular activities after school, and we are expected to volunteer for our community and school. There is a lot of pressure on teenagers to be involved in activities because it teaches us responsibility, but some colleges barely glance over all of the hard work we've put in to sports or school or volunteer work, etc. If we do not have a good ACT or SAT score, there is no acceptance.

Standardized tests have their pros and cons, and they can benefit many people, but there is definitely a trend among students who make better scores. Students who have the money to pay for tutors, prep books, online classes, etc. obviously have a higher chance of getting a better score rather than a person who can't afford any preparatory classes or books or tutors. That same person who can not afford all of the classes, etc. could spend all of her time working, volunteering, studying, and/or practicing, but colleges will not give that person a second look if her ACT or SAT score does not meet the requirements. In another popular quote from Albert Einstein, he says, "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid." In my opinion, this is one of the most inspiring quotes about basing peoples' education level off one test. Some students can be a super talented athlete, or artist, or musical prodigy, but if they make a low score on the ACT or SAT, they will believe that they are stupid in comparison to their classmates, friends, family, etc.

The value of standardizing testing is debatable. They help colleges compare students based on their education, but students fall under the stress and feel defeated, down, and unimportant if they don't make a good score. Is one score worth it? Michelle Obama states, "Don't let those tests defeat you. Don't let those tests define you." The first lady of the United States of America realizes how defeating standardized tests are, and this is exactly why there needs to be some sort of change. We should be accepted into college based roughly on our hard working abilities, responsibilities, and other activities rather than our test taking skill.

Cedar Creek School

Cedar Creek School

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