ACT vs SAT: Why do we take them? Are they necessary?

By: Maya Breininger

The infamous ACT/SAT exams date back to 1959, and have been used to summarize a student’s academic ability. The question is: Is this an accurate measurement of a student’s capabilities, or is it a grueling task that we just assign to high school students?

A study done in New York City addresses the high levels of chronic stress high school students face daily. It tells us how mentally damaging the repetitive cycle of school can be for young students, and about how the system is fit to teach students who all learn the same way. The cycle of learning a topic, memorizing it, and writing down the information on a test is the daily stressful learning system that students endure every day.

Although there are many studies done suggesting that this is the most efficient and effective way to reach large audiences of children, there are opposing studies that express how vital it is to have interactive assignments that immerse the kids in the material.

Now, what does this have to do with the ACT/SAT exams?

Well, first you have to ask yourself a few of questions – What are the contents of the exam? Are the pages of multiple choice questions of topics that were briefly discussed during class time the best way to assess a student’s academic value? Are the “core class” sections of the test – made to prepare you for very specific and non-diverse career paths – truly reaching into a student’s brain and obtaining its full potential?

Disregarding the repetitive nature of the test, along with the questionable measurement of educational properties, the way that these test scores are used can be very harmful for individuals.

Now, anyone can argue that the tests are used by many colleges and universities as tools to filter their applications, but is it accurate? Can it harm the individual?

SAT scores – according to the website – are used to make decisions about admissions, by comparing students based off of their scores. This indirectly states that a 3 hour exam can accurately capture the knowledge of an entire student. By using the same sections and decisions, colleges assess who can make it through applications.

Consider these components the next time that you have a conversation about the SAT scores, or form an opinion of a person for refusing to take them. Besides the fact that your score could deter your dream college from your application, it’s also a good idea to survey the contents of the SAT, and find out if it’s worth an entire year of stress to young high school students who might not even all learn the same way.

Now that you’ve read this article, can you confidently state that SAT and ACT exams are an accurate assessment of student knowledge? Should a decision made in 1959 about the rules of education affect how colleges view your application information?

The way I see it, it’s not an accurate assessment of the whole student, and there are lots of better ways for colleges to determine if a student is a good fit for their school.

For more information, please check out these websites:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s