Pro: No need to change what works

When colleges and universities — both small and prestigious — announced the opportunity for students to not submit their standardized test scores on the Common Application, universities such as Harvard University saw a 42% increase in college applications, according to an article in the Washington Post.
Since the Stanford-Binet Intelligence test was developed in 1905, many colleges and universities have adopted similar standardized tests to analyze students and teacher’s performance in the classroom. As colleges and universities become test optional — allowing students to decide whether they should submit their test scores — it is important to acknowledge that these tests would serve as an indicator for a student’s performance towards different subjects and serve as a tool to gage the effectiveness of the current education system. Therefore, colleges and universities should continue to utilize standardized tests in the admissions process. 

For decades, colleges and universities have used standardized tests such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and now the American College Testing (ACT) as a factor in student’s college admissions. These exams may seem like a simple number admission officers use to judge students, however the score of the exam proves to be beneficial to students. With universities receiving thousands of applications annually, the test can serve as another measurement for a student’s academic success, according to Azusa Pacific University. Colleges and universities do look at a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA), however if a student’s GPA is not as high as they had hoped, a high score on the SAT or ACT can reveal a student’s true potential for certain subjects. By submitting either the SAT or ACT, some students are now able to show their true knowledge towards a specific subject. 

While the standardization of these tests allow colleges and universities to examine the students, it also can inform future instruction. When students in California take the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Assessment (CAASPP), the scores are reported to the California Department of Education. The results would then be used to promote high-quality teaching, according to the California Department of Education. Schools may restructure their curriculums based on the performance of the annual standardized tests. This idea can also be applied towards the SAT and ACT. As students take the exam annually, their scores will determine the difficulty for the resulting year. In order for teachers to promote a sense of college readiness in high school classes, they should take available information about the test and apply it into their classes. By creating a curriculum that is based off of the SAT or ACT, students will be better prepared for their college experience.  

It is true that many students from low-income families are not able to receive the same opportunities as high-income families, however, the problem may not directly lie on the difference in scores received by different incomes, but the allocation of students to different colleges and universities, according to a study published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics. The study notes how students of low-income and of the middle class are less likely to attend schools higher income students are able to despite the similarity in their test scores. The study itself concludes that the distribution of students to different colleges and universities can help increase the students of lower income to attend universities that are similar to those who are of high incomes. 

Standardized tests should continue to be used in the college admissions process as it helps boost a student’s academic profile and inform the future curriculum in classrooms. As students took the PSAT and the Pre ACT on Oct. 13, they will be able to reflect about the contents on the test and properly prepare for their future standardized tests.