When the pandemic forced the cancellation of SAT and ACT test dates, UC and other schools made the tests optional for 2021 applicants or waived them altogether.
Standardized testing isn’t so “standardized” and should therefore become an optional supplement in the college admission process for all colleges and universities.
ACT claims that standardized testing is vital to compare academic achievement across schools and understanding whether students are meeting educational standards.
However, these tests can misrepresent who students are in the classroom. Many students are unable to prepare at the same level as those with tutors or comprehensive preparation plans. For excellent students who lack these resources, these tests hold back their ability to best showcase their academic potential. The gap these tests assess isn’t achievement. It’s money. Those with more of it do better on standardized tests because they can afford the proper preparation and hire tutors. It’s a business, not an educational experience.
For others, multiple choice tests don’t resonate, as many overthink questions due to anxiety or self-doubt. While multiple choice is the “standard” test format, students learn and perform best in different environments, and to expect students to be able to perform the same task in the same way is unreasonable.
Due to COVID-19, students don’t have the same ability to test, and therefore have less time to improve scores. Many students haven’t even taken the SAT/ACT, and while they are adding test dates, the “high volume due to unprecedented demand” still limits students’ ability to test, tweeted The College Board. The pandemic makes taking tests that call for sitting in an enclosed space for three or more hours a hazard for students and their families. Until a vaccine is found, tests will be subject to cancellation depending on what is happening in a given state.
Students argue that eliminating testing requirements will serve as a disadvantage to showcasing their academic achievement. However, the point of test optional is that students who are happy with their scores can submit, and students who don’t resonate with standardized testing aren’t penalized.
Eliminating these tests also benefits colleges by widening their pool of applicants, accommodating students of various backgrounds and learning styles.