Standardized tests should not be used for college entrance

Tom Tom Staff Editorial

Students are constantly pressured to prepare and do well on the ACT throughout high school, however a standardized test that long and painful should not determine how much a student has learned throughout high school or their worth for college scholarships. Colleges should instead focus on one’s essays, GPA, extracurricular activities, and recommendations. 

The ACT, which is formerly known as the American College Testing Program Assessment, consists of four individual tests: English, Math, Reading, and Science Reasoning. The score report for the “Enhanced ACT Assessment” includes a composite ranging from 1-36, a score for each individual test, and sub scores. There is also an optional writing test. 

As most already know, this test is a timed test to ensure that nearly all students reach the end. However, the problem with these timed standardized tests is that they are a bad measure of the things that schools theoretically want to see, such as critical-thinking skills, creativity, and college readiness. 

A lot of colleges have already switched to being test optional for when students apply; however not all of them. According to The National Center of Fair & Open Testing, nearly 400 colleges and universities that already admit substantial numbers of freshman applicants without regard to test scores have shown that class rank, high school grades, and rigor of classes taken are better tools for predicting college success than any standardized test. 

We as a staff feel that more colleges should switch to being test optional and the ACT should not be as pressured towards students. 

The biggest problem with standardized testing is that they only determine which students are good at test taking. According to standardized test scores are easily influenced by outside factors such as: stress, hunger, tiredness, and prior teacher or parent comments about the difficulty of the test, and among other factors as well. 

These tests, including the ACT, offer no report of meaningful measure of progress for students. 

Another issue is that a lot of students just have trouble with test taking in general. A study done by the HeritageHerald shows that 16-20% of students have test taking anxiety. This shows that a student may be able to receive a good test score under relaxing conditions, however they may do significantly worse with the added pressure of finishing in a limited amount of time. 

On top of all that, a test long enough like the ACT is overall exhausting and not enjoyable for most students in the first place. 

Another issue with standardized testing, including the ACT, is that they are overall biased. Standardized tests were originally created by psychologists in America  during World War 1 for members of the military, which back then were only men. says that these military tests were created specifically to segregate soldiers by race, because at the time science inaccurately linked intelligence and race. These same standardized tests later adapted into the SAT and ACT. explains that professors in California and former test makers say that test designers rely on questions which assume background knowledge more often held by White, middle-class students. Some language used in these tests including “key to the city,” “ball and chain,” “straight from the horse’s mouth,” and other idiomatic terms are obviously not familiar to everyone. 

Studies have found that most students with families with more money and background knowledge are overall more familiar with these terms and the language the ACT and SAT use.

Many studies have also found that well-resourced students have far greater access to test preparation, tutoring and taking the test multiple times. That just proves that these tests are a better measure of students’ family background and economic status than of their ability to succeed. 

Even even if students do spend time and money to prepare for these types of tests, it is not guaranteed a student’s score will increase as much as they hope for since test anxiety, hunger, tiredness, and life itself can all get in the way. 

All of this shows how students should not be as pressured to take tests like the ACT and SAT since there are so many things wrong with them in the first place. More colleges should become test optional and scholarship worthiness should not be determined by these standardized test scores.