For years now, the SAT has undergone intense scrutiny at the hands of experts well-versed in testing methodology. And the pressure has only intensified as the news media has broadcast numerous reports regarding the SAT’s irrational, lopsided approach to admissions testing.
According to The University Star, “The SAT has been a factor in college admission since the 1920s, but this controversial standardized test is unfair for students who have personal and environmental disadvantages. Students who come from low-income families or suffer from test anxiety are automatically set back in comparison to students that don’t have these concerns.” The Atlantic hones this point further in the following excerpt: “Over the last many years, SAT test prep can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. But the students who can least afford the help are the ones who would benefit the most from it.”
The College Board, which creates and delivers the SAT, is considered a nonprofit, and therefore receives federal tax exemption. But, despite its “nonprofit” status, its profits reached $94 million in 2018 alone. The College Board owns a monopoly when it comes to standardized testing, and as long as there is little, if any competition, high school students will be compelled to “drink the Kool-Aid” if they wish to get a secondary education. My heart goes out to any poor soul who’s duped by a terribly biased system.
But there’s a silver lining in all of this, and it’s glowing more brightly every day. With more than 280,000 students statewide, The University of California System made a decision to no longer consider SAT scores during its admissions process, nor the scores from its half-baked cousin, the ACT. And the list of institutions that have awakened and abandoned these tests is growing considerably.
During the pandemic, more than 1600 colleges and universities have become “test optional.” But some may well continue exactly that way once the virus is eliminated. In a column for EdSurge, Emily Tate wrote: “Even before the pandemic, test-optional policies were gaining traction. According to FairTest, a group that is critical of college admissions tests, 1,050 colleges had implemented a test-optional policy by September 2019. Forty-seven of those had made the decision in the prior 12 months.”
When I took the SAT in high school, the test did nothing to assess my creative aptitude. In other words, it was entirely worthless. And that’s because the years I spent earning two university degrees were largely focused on creative problem-solving. Following that, I made a successful career teaching graphic design, a profession that’s entirely based on finding creative solutions to problems in communication.
I don’t mince words, and I’ll never succumb to the cowardice that propels politically correct speech. So, let me be frank: Any college or university that still clings to these broken-down tests demonstrates an indisputable bias during the admissions process. And added to that is a big dose of favoritism for students who come from families of means.
Dear God! In what century are we living?! Is badly flawed, twentieth-century testing still the norm in the new millennium? If the human genome has been unraveled, and we can now measure zeptoseconds and put a spacecraft on Mars, isn’t it time to re-evaluate and overhaul antiquated testing methods so they’ll align with the century in which we now exist?