More universities should be test-optional

With the “Making Caring Common” project hitting the news recently, a new conversation has sparked about whether or not universities should become test-optional or not.

Prospective students are no longer required to send in standardized tests, such as their SAT score, ACT score, and Subject Test scores.

If students feel that their scores are good enough, they have the option to send those in.

However, there are many benefits to being a test-optional school. Standardized tests don’t always accurately reflect how a student will do at a college; some students do not test well.

It is also difficult to judge a student’s ability based on these scores because intelligence and creativity are beyond what a standardized test can capture.

That is why we on the Old Gold & Black staff believe that universities should change their policies to not require standardized test scores.

A student’s resume is more valuable than how they score on a test.

A student’s involvement in high school activities, the classes they took and how they balanced their various extracurricular show more of his or her character and aptitude than standardized test scores.

While one of the aims of these tests is to put students on a level playing field, more students spend more money on tutors for months so that they can receive high test scores.

The disconnect from those who can and cannot afford a private tutor shows that test scores are subject to being unfair and often irrelevant.

A wealthy family can pay for a tutor to boost test scores, but that only shows that a student has received more practice, not that their abilities are any higher than a student who couldn’t afford to prepare.

The whole industry thrives on having high school students prepare for these tests. According to the Huffington Post, as of 2010, the College Board had a net worth of $65.6 million.

The College Board sets the SAT price at $49 in addition to charging $10.50 for each school the student sends their scores to.

The AP tests cost $89 each, so the gap in students who come from wealthy families and those form low-income families keeps growing.

With the cost of a tutor and the cost of all of the tests, the total money spent comes out to be quite expensive.

If schools were to become test-optional or not even look at those scores, the playing field would be more level because students would not have to worry about paying for the tests as well as not being inadequately judged by a number.

Someone scoring nearly a perfect score on a SAT or another standardized test does not always match what kind of student they will be. There is more to a person than a test score.

Work ethic, initiative, drive, and dedication all matter too. But those cannot be easily tested through multiple choice questions. A test score will not show how a student should thrive; admissions offices should take the initiative to not look at those scores.