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Testing My Patience

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Testing My Patience

Colette Combs, News Editor

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We are in the midsts of standardized test season- Subject tests, AP exams, SATs and ACTs- our lives, study habits, and sleep schedules are currently being dictated by the College Board. At times, it can feel like our lives need to be scheduled around testing, not the other way around. However, if we are able to step away from the tumult of testing season and ask why we are submitting ourselves to the stress of testing- we may be surprised by the lack of

After spending a sunny April Saturday morning and afternoon at Beverly High School struggling through the mundanity of the 6 hour ACT, I began to question the value of the test. If I have been learning 7 hours a day, 5 days a week for the past 12 years of my life, then why should a 6 hour test be used to represent my academic prowess? The concept has never made much sense to me. Sure, I understand that colleges want to have a baseline understanding of an applicant’s academic abilities, but doesn’t a four year transcript give more insight into a student than the results of one arbitrary test? There are several reasons why an excellent student may perform poorly on a standardized test like the ACT. Many students simply do not test well, or may not have gotten enough sleep the night before. Students may not have the proper attention span to spend six hours continuously taking a test, or they may have something else happening that distracts them from the test on that particular morning.

These tests reduce students to easily comparable numbers. They are not holistic views of students and lend themselves easily to comparisons between peers and siblings. Test scores also easily contribute to low self esteem and a false sense of how to measure intelligence.  

More and more colleges are coming to the same conclusions that I have- that the best way to measure a student’s academic worth is not through excessive tests. Fewer colleges today are requiring students to send in their standardized test scores, and even the schools that still do require scores often say that the scores are one of the least important parts of the application they consider. In the future, colleges should continue to phase out standardized testing as a consideration in application processes and instead rely on transcripts and school specific placement tests upon admission.         

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The student news site of Pingree School in South Hamilton, MA
Testing My Patience