Do SAT and ACT Scores Really Matter?

April 28, 2016

Standardized testing has been central to the college application process for decades. In the hallways of high schools all over the world, it isn’t uncommon to hear students discussing ways to “up their score.” This has become somewhat of a mantra students are ingrained with, because they believe the numbers 2400 (now, 1600) or 36 will magically get them accepted into the college of their dreams. But how much emphasis should students really put into these test scores? What do they really measure?

The SAT, which was first known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test in 1923, was designed to be a test to measure a student’s ability to perform in college. It was also developed with good intentions to help students with humble backgrounds get noticed by Ivy League schools. However, standardized testing no longer achieves either goal it originally set out to accomplish.

Former Dean of Admissions at Bates College William Hiss led a study to analyze whether students who were admitted with standardized test scores did better in college than those who didn’t. He tracked this data over several years and monitored the grade and graduation rates of the students in both subsets. The results shows that there’s a negligible difference between the two groups with only a 0.05% difference in GPA, and a 0.6% difference in graduation rates.

Alongside Hiss’ data, there has also been numerous studies that claim high school GPA is actually a much better indication of whether a student will be successful in college. Bob Schaeffer, public education director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing agrees. He believes that “no test can truly measure “aptitude” for academic success because school performance is not based on a single factor.”

More importantly, the SAT has also grown to become more and more advantageous for students from more privileged backgrounds. The ability to afford test prep gives students a better chance to score higher, and the upbringing environment also comes into play.

This has caused many universities to take action and make these test optional in their application. Top schools like Wesleyan University and George Washington University have recently joined the other 850 test-optional colleges, and the trend is just beginning.

Whether you take the SAT or the ACT, just remember the results are not necessarily indicative of how successful you will be in life.

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Sources: Washington PostPBS

About The Author

Frances Wong
Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.

 




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