Should we ACT on SATs?

The SAT uses bubble sheet answers similar to the one picture above. (lecroitg/Pixabay)

The SAT uses bubble sheet answers similar to the one picture above. (lecroitg/Pixabay)

Maryam Al Janabi, Reporter

  Should SAT testing be mandatory for college acceptance? Other parts of a student’s application will become more crucial without SAT scores. This includes a student’s GPA, awards, college essays, achievements, and any extracurricular activities someone might include on their application. It’s hard to show the difference and uniqueness in students with just one test. Every student takes the same test. It levels the playing field for everyone, but dictating a student’s career on a test may not be the best choice.

    The scores on the SAT and ACT allow students to narrow down their choices and make decisions on acceptance.  The SAT provides colleges a window into where you stand in a general academic field. This gives the SAT some importance, but not as much as it once had. Many colleges are now test-optional. The SAT also saw scores fall last year. According to PrepScholar, the 2022 average score was 1050, compared to 1060 for the Class of 2021.

Jasmine MendezJorgensen, a junior at Boise High, does not think these tests should be mandatory. “The SATs are hard to score really well on unless you have the study equipment,” she says. Many people go to SAT prep courses, but some may not have as many opportunities and are left at a disadvantage in getting a higher SAT score. Getting professional help to study for the SAT is very disproportionately expensive.  She comments on how “unreasonable” it is to assess a student’s intelligence with a test.  “I’m not the best test taker. I get easily distracted like many other kids, especially Gen Z. None of us have an attention span.” 

 “We’re all horrible test takers to some degree, and telling us that we will be allowed in a university for our future based on how well we sit down and take a test is a  horrible way to do it.”  Most colleges have been making SATs optional since COVID-19 hit. Alison Hurst, a student helper in Ms. Preminger’s class attending BSU has taken the SAT and ACT. Coming from a different perspective, she believes it represents something important in terms of demonstrating to schools what courses you need and didn’t do as well on. “However, I don’t believe standarized testing is the way to go about doing that,” she says. They are important in theory, but not reality. “It should be testing a student’s actual knowledge versus take a test in a certain amount of time.” She believes they can be preferrably replaced with something more representative of a student’s actual knowledge.

The SAT is a learnable test that compares a high school student’s knowledge to other students taking the test. It also can help you qualify for scholarships. However, basing your entire student career on a timed test and dictating where that leads you is highly unreasonable. And with most SATs now optional, it’s got students asking the same question: Must the state continue to make the SAT mandatory?