SATs flawed, high cause of stress among students


Graphic by Juve Angulo

Francesca Magalang, Staff Writer

The SATs are flawed. The supposed importance of the SATs is stressed upon students throughout their high school career. Students are reminded their test scores are key to determining the course of their educational and occupational futures and, therefore, should be taken seriously.
This advice usually backfires, pressuring students instead of motivating them. The stress sets students up for failure on the SATs and possibly in other areas of school.
Most of all, the SATs harm students who struggle with mental health or do not have the money, learning resources, or opportunities to prepare for testing. These students are at a worse disadvantage because the education system does not accommodate for their needs.
Moreover, the SATs are the target of much contention because they ignite meaningless competition between students who can and cannot go to college, regardless of their scores. For some students, college may not be an option due to reasons that are out of their control, including finances, transportation, or other commitments that make schooling difficult. A high score on the SATs cannot fix this.
It is true that good grades on standardized tests can earn scholarships which make college admission fees easier to manage. However, not all students are lucky or privileged enough to acquire scholarships, let alone full-paid ones. Once again, the SATs prove advantageous to only a fraction of high school students.
On top of creating a massive imbalance between students, the SATs are graded in a very superficial and unreliable manner. All correct answers are credited in the final score; it is assumed that the student knew all of them, but this may not be accurate if any of those choices were guesses. It is not guaranteed that an SAT score is a truthful representation of a student’s knowledge.
One might argue that exams such as the SAT are very similar to the tests administered regularly during the school year, and they would not be so deeply embedded in the American education system if they weren’t effective. This statement, however, raises the question of whether the system was effective to begin with.
The intelligence of a student should not be measured in numbers. Furthermore, those numbers should not speak to a student’s future success, potential, or value as a human being. Standardized tests only perpetuate this skewed ideal. For the sake of the students, the SATs and the education system must change.