Why Standardized Testing Should Be Banned

Valerie Palomo

As early as the 1920s, standardized tests were being used by schools to judge students based on whether or not they were going to be successful in life or if they were “slow children.” Fast forward to the present day, and not much has changed. Standardized tests are not an accurate representation of a student’s abilities and they lack reliability. Therefore, standardized testing should be formally put to an end.

CollegeBoard recently announced that their SAT and PSAT exams are going to be put to a halt because of the coronavirus. Due to the SAT and the ACT being canceled this year, the University of California has suspended ACT/SAT requirements for the applicants of 2021. However, the dropping of these standardized tests for the upcoming year doesn’t mean that this will be a permanent change. If the UC’s are able to stop these exams from being a requirement temporarily now, then why not continue this permanently?

The SAT and the ACT play a huge role when it comes to determining college admissions and who will get into certain UCs. Most students spend a good amount of their time in high school preparing for these standardized tests, which puts an immense amount of pressure on students because they must somehow showcase all of their academic abilities into a 3 hour and 50-minute test.

Students aren’t able to show their critical thinking, creativity, motivation, resilience, leadership, and many other useful abilities on these tests. Yes, students can demonstrate these skills in other ways on their college applications, but if a student doesn’t have a high SAT or ACT score, these other skills may not be enough for some colleges. This is unfair because some students just aren’t great test-takers, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have other impressive abilities.

Standardized tests can take a toll on educators as well, considering that these standardized tests are also a representation of how well the schools and educators are doing their job. Standardized tests are no longer being used to help teachers improve their instruction or what they teach, but instead, it’s used to hold the educators accountable to meet certain curriculum.

Standardized testing is also a social inequality issue. Students that come from high-income families have a better chance of scoring well on standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT than students who come from low-income families. Socioeconomically privileged students can boost their test results with expensive prep courses, whereas students from underrepresented socioeconomic classes don’t have that benefit.

Standardized testing should be put to an official end. It’s an unreliable measurement of students’ and educators’ performances as well as a socio-economic inequality issue.