Colleges should adopt test-optional policies

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As the college application season proceeds, many students are required to submit SAT or ACT scores to the schools they wish to apply to as part of the application process. However, many prestigious institutions such as Brandeis University, American University, Denison University, Muhlenberg College, Bucknell University, The University of Chicago, and many more have decided to implement test-optional programs within their college application programs because scientific research has been conducted to indicate that test scores do not predict intelligence. 

“Schools being test optional is really interesting because it gives the student a chance to shine with the rest of their application. It helps advisors see other aspects of a student,” Divya Gada (’20) said. 

While statistics do argue that there is a correlation between test scores and success in college, science itself proves them wrong. According to Psychology Today, a publication written by psychologists, evidence points towards the fact that test scores do not measure intelligence. Cody Kommer, a cognitive neuroscientist who studied at both the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Harvard University, knows that standardized testing does not help to reflect students’ strengths. He stated that tests do not reveal how a student will perform once he or she is in college. 

Even if a student is knowledgeable in subjects such as math and english, the test may not show that because not all schools have a universal curriculum. Standardized tests also do not capture talents such as public speaking, theatre, leadership, many of which are skills that are incredibly useful for success in college. These tests are made to poke and prod at students’ weaknesses, even if their weaknesses might not determine their level of success in college. 

Students agree that a four hour test should not define them. 

“Colleges should go test optional because one day of your life should not define you in the eyes of college admissions,” Kelly Fox (’20) said. 

Education should not be about preparing students to take a test. If anything, education should be about taking students’ gifts and encouraging them to use those gifts to their fullest potential. An educated citizen is one that has the ability to bring their gifts to society. For example, if a student can only apply their knowledge to tests, they cannot apply their knowledge to the real world. A student might be able to receive a perfect score on a standardized test but may not be able to perform an appendectomy, settle an abatement, win a court case, or speak a foreign language, to name a few examples of how knowledge is truly applied in the real world. 

“Test scores do not tell you who you are and how well you do. Colleges should look at academics and activities,” Peu Das (’20) said. 

Tests are not “one-size fits all,” even if that is what colleges and testing companies make it seem to be. However, some colleges and testing companies argue this point in addition to the statistic that high test scores correlate to success in college. 

Some people argue that colleges also use the test-optional policy to receive more applications, decrease acceptance rates, and make more money. However, colleges that require standardized testing scores simply reflect the business partnership between them and most people that work for these testing companies who have not taught a day in their lives.

 Test scores should not define us as students and that is why colleges should go test optional. 

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