Sunday, January 20, 2013
Straight up the SAT matters too much
This year alone, tens of millions of American high school students will take the SAT. Yet very few of them will ask themselves "why?". And of those who would ask themselves that fundamental question, most would probably answer "because colleges need me to". They wouldn't be wrong either. In today's America, that 4-digit number (and in some cases 3) that is a student's SAT score represents more than just an assessment of their academic abilities, it has become, far and wide, the deciding factor that determines admissions to the nation's top schools. The SAT has become a sort of vicious cycle actually: more and more colleges are becoming selective about admissions, so they demand higher SAT scores, and as a result students are pressured into preparing more and more to aim for higher scores, and because more and more students are earning higher scores, colleges become even more selective. The emphasis that colleges place on SAT scores serves only to perpetuate this cycle. But what's the problem with this, you ask? Doesn't this just teach our kids to be smarter, you ask? Well, really and truly, no. As highlighted in previous posts, the SAT is a flawed test that does not assess how "smart" students really are. Students should not be wasting their time and money preparing for a such a test, and what's worse is how commonly accepted it has become. Nobody even bothers to question whether or not there is anything wrong with the test because it has become such an integral part of the lives of every American teenager. If colleges didn't focus so much on how students scored on an exam that doesn't even work the way it should, then maybe they'd be able to get a much more accurate measure of prospective students and their true academic abilities.