The student news website of Omaha Central High School

ACT/SAT Weakening Relevance

December 20, 2018

Today when anxiety and depression is at an all-time high, due to many factors, but school and college preparation is one of the main causes. Students are expected to try their best for a high GPA and remember all the information for a standardized test valuing all the years of hard work. 

ACT and SAT tests should be available but not be given as much relevance. I believe that if colleges focused more on GPA rather than standardized tests, students would be more motivated to do better on assignments and tests.  

Many students deal with testing anxiety, receiving lower scores on normal class exams, usually around 40 minutes. Yet, the ACT and SAT are hours long in rooms full of people. These tests favor those without learning disabilities and wealth. More privileged students take act prep courses and are able to hire tutors, earning a high score than those with less money.  

Also, the system is just another way to take money from students and families. The ACT prices can range from $60 to $100, depending on the writing portion. The prep classes can be found the cheapest at $200. Students wishing to excel but are not wealthy can take the state-wide ACT at school, and not be able to afford taking more tests. Everyone I have talked to has taken the ACT at least three times, equaling to a minimum of around $200 just for testing.  

Also, in classes there are obviously teachers who are better than other, giving an unfair advantage to test takers. There are different ways to learn, and memorizing mass amounts of information to do well on a standardized test is not ideal.  

High anxiety levels and pressure to score high on the ACT and SAT often cause students to score lower, due to their career and amount of student debt be highly based off their score. GPA shows the students’ ability better than testing, since it is over a long period of time and combines multiple different subjects and electives; Rather than using a test combining four large, repetitive subjects.  

I do think it is important being able to apply years of knowledge into basic subject questions, just disagree with the number of negatives it can cause. For example, the price barrier is an issue for students wishing to succeed, the prep time takes attention away from current classes, and the cause of anxiety is causes.  

The only way to get a true accurate score is without time limits and distractions. For example, while taking the ACT a student next to me had an issue with twitching and constant foot tapping, which is obviously very distracting when you are supposed to be taking a test that decided your future. Also, the nation cannot expect student to be able to answer questions within the same amount of time; Some people read faster than others, or can figure math problems faster than other students, again favoring the more gifted students.  

For standardized tests to still have as much importance, the tests should have extended time periods, which would able students more than to gather their thoughts rather than using techniques to answer faster. Also, this would be almost impossible but giving students their own space by themselves would eliminate all distractions, allowing for more concentration.  

These standardized tests are becoming more irrelevant and should not be taken as heavily as they are. GPA should hold more importance, motivating students to work harder and take classes more seriously. These tests continue to prove the wealthy and gifted students will always succeed over others.  

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