Removing the SAT and ACT from college applications

Is it being supported by students and teachers?


There have been noticeable differences in the SAT scores by family income since 1995.

Colleges in California and around the United States have been making the ACT and SAT optional on the college application in 2020 with hopes to include more diversity and level the playing field for students’ acceptance. In the past with standardized tests, there have been issues caused by a difference in social economics and by a student being judged by the test, not by their character. A way to help students have a higher chance of getting accepted into their desired school is by making the ACT and SAT optional. 

In order for students to get a good score on these academic tests they often need to retake it, hire a tutor for help, or take a prep class. Mr. Fowler, a teacher for AP Calculus AB and BC, has been teaching the prep class for the SAT for twenty years. The class costs 150$ and allows students to get the help they need for the test. Fowler shared the impact of taking this course. “So the students that take the class and put in the work have come back and said that their scores have increased. We have had students who routinely score 50 to 100 points higher in the math section. I teach this class to help students against the necessary evil, but I am in support of making these tests optional.” 

There is a magic number for each student in which they feel they have to get in order to be accepted into their dream school. Some schools also offer scholarships based upon the score from the SAT. These tests range from 45-60 dollars but once adding a tutor on top of it or a prep class, it can become very expensive. 

This is not a fair playing ground for lower-income families who do not have this type of money to spend on a test. Students also turn to cheating and some parents even bribe the college board graders to alter the score of their child’s test. Another disadvantage. Students need to be able to have equal opportunity to get a score that a college would accept without financial barriers. One way to solve this issue is to get rid of these tests. 

The SAT and ACT do not measure who a person is and their capability. One student, Annabelle McCelland, went to a BYU camp in the summer of her junior year for ACT help. She shared her results and beliefs about the SAT and ACT. “I took the ACT test before and after and my score improved by one point.” She continued to answer about the value of the test. “I feel the ACT and SAT aren’t true representations of a student’s abilities and I agree that the ACT and SAT should be optional in college applications.” 

These standardized tests show if a student can memorize material and whether they are a good or bad test taker. It also evaluates if the student learned basic material but for some students, they have not done this material on the test since freshman year. There are also a lot of people out there with test anxiety and these tests do not do a good job of showing what the student knows. These tests can make signing up for college a lot more stressful for students and the idea that a single score can either make it or break it for a student to get into college is too much pressure. Some people are naturally gifted at taking tests while others study for weeks and hardly pass the test because they have mental barriers in the way. Making the ACT and SAT optional on college applications would lower the stress in students, help lower-income families, and allow other parts of the application show for who the student really is.