Standardized tests fail to meet the standard for improving education



Standardized tests should not be used to compare the intelligence of students given its subjective manner.

Students, teachers and parents all over North America campaigned for education reform by protesting against the use of standardized tests in college admissions. Some people believe that the SAT is an objective way to compare students while others argue that the test is too subjective. Given these conditions, numerous people agree that a student’s score on their standardized tests such as the SAT or the ACT should not determine their acceptance into a university or their capability of doing well in school.

Others may argue that standardized tests are reliable and objective sources for measuring student achievement; however, that is not always the case. 

Public Education Director Bob Schaeffer of Fair Test said, “Research has long shown that both tests have built-in biases that favor white students from more-affluent families.” 

Students from wealthy families have the means to afford test preparation classes designed to teach them the tricks to score high on standardized tests which results in students of wealthy families scoring higher than students from low-income families. 

Granted, there are free alternatives to expensive test preparation classes such as Khan Academy, but there’s a large difference in the experience between going to test preparation classes and watching videos online. At test preparation classes, students can ask questions when they are stuck on a problem, but when one is trying to learn the material on their own, it is easy to fall into a downward spiral when one is left to find the answers to their own questions. 

Standardized tests are no longer a reflection of the student’s capability to retain knowledge in school but are a reflection of a student’s socioeconomic background. 

The SAT is also subjective based on a student’s cultural background. In the Journal of Human Resources Daniel M. Koretz writes, “simply changing the relative weight of algebra and geometry in NAEP (the National Assessment of Educational Progress) altered the gap between black and white students.”

Clear evidence shows that standardized tests are not an effective measurement of a student’s capability to retain the information they are taught in schools. They do not affect a student’s improvement in school and are not a reliable and objective way to measure a student’s intelligence. 

If the SAT is not an effective way to measure student intelligence, why should students have to pay for the tests? It costs a student and their family $47.50 plus an additional $26 registration fee. Usually, students take the SAT three times to aim for a higher score than the last. On top of test fees, students have to pay for college tuition, dorms, books and other expenses. 

Standardized test scores should not be used to compare students for college admissions and should be removed from the school curriculum because they do not improve education for students.