Should America Stop Standardized Testing?

Standardized TestingIt is no big secret that the American public school system needs a major overhaul but this is no small task to tend.  Indeed, attempting to address all of the many issues facing American educators may be more complicated than anyone cares to tackle.

But it is a job that must be done.

Of course, one major area of discussion, right now, is that of standardized testing.  Many believe it is no longer necessary or, perhaps, that it may require a modern overhaul.  The latter is already underway, thus, as a new Scholastic Aptitude Test willb e deployed in March.  This junior class, then, will be the first to experience the exam—one with fewer questions, to boot.

But at the end of the day, will these changes even matter? After all, nearly 900 US colleges in the United States are now accepting admission requests and applications without a standardized test score requirement.  A remarkable number of admissions directors argue that a combination of grade-point average (GPA), work experience, and course load/rigor, might be better collective indicators of success in college.

After all, the “SAT” determines, basically, what you know and not, necessarily, how well or creatively you solve problems, your level of discipline or maturity, or how well you get along with other people (as group and partner projects are often part of the college education experience).

This distinction is an important facet of upper education that previous generations have overlooked:  some students “know more” because they grew up in a nurturing and abundant environment while other students may struggle simply because they had access to fewer resources.  Nothing about these students grades, necessarily, says that one student is better at learning than the other, only that one has had a better opportunity for learning.

Admissions counselors, then, look at this new concept as a way to diversify incoming classes of Freshmen.  It takes the pressure of all students to perform on a single test and allows them more freedom to flourish in as many other facets of education as possible, facets which we have now come to understand may be better indicators of success in college than, simply, how much a child has learned through elementary and secondary schools.