Last fall, NC State waived the SAT/ACT undergraduate admission requirement that used to be in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. While many proponents of standardized testing are upset by the decision, I believe that it’s time to let the SAT/ACT undergraduate requirement go. While it took a pandemic for NC State and other colleges to start waiving this requirement, the decision is long overdue. These standardized tests are outdated, and it doesn’t make sense for them to be required anymore.
Besides being created almost a century ago, the SAT was originally designed after the IQ test to be a greater measure of intelligence in high school-age students. According to PBS, a study was published by the same man who invented the IQ test, which claimed that American education was “declining,” and it would continue to decline because of continued “race-mixing.” While it doesn’t surprise me that this racist rhetoric and ideology existed in this time period, the fact that we are still forcing students to take it is severely wrong on many levels.
The SAT and ACT are also not cheap. During my junior year, my parents had to shell out $60-plus each time I had to retake one of the two. They also helped me pay for a tutor, which I know is not a privilege that many students have. These ridiculous prices also don’t protect College Board and their exams from their claim to be nonprofit organizations. Financial Samurai tells us College Board easily makes over $1 billion a year in pure revenue from AP exams, PSATS and SATS. As for the ACT, Vox states that they had total revenue of just over $353 million.
It isn’t a radical idea to get rid of these testing requirements. Schools like New York University, Cornell College and George Washington University have stopped requiring test results from their students. While students still have the option to turn these results in along with their application, it is becoming more common that universities, including NC State, take these with a grain of salt.
According to Technician, Jon Westover, director of admissions in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, said the application process is more focused on your high school transcript and personal essays. These aspects tend to say more about who you are as a student and how you performed in actual classes, instead of a standardized four hour-long test.
While I agree that SAT/ACT scores might’ve functioned in the past to weed out applicants, it is now useless because anyone who has money can either cheat their way to college or take the test as many times as they want with access to tutors, prep classes, etc. This inherently causes standardized testing to weed out lower-income students, which feeds into a classist system that has yet to be addressed in universities.
It’s not like these standardizing tests prepare students for future exams of the same sort. Graduate schools are already waiving the GRE as a requirement for students, most recently noted by Technician, in Caryl Espinoza Jaen’s recent column. I agree with him in the fact that these tests are essentially useless, and many schools feel the same. Upon a quick Google search, I found at least 100 graduate schools (and there are definitely more) that have since waived their GRE requirement due to COVID-19. Standardized tests are a thing of the past, and if graduate schools are leaving these archaic admissions processes behind, undergrad needs to follow suit.
Also, just because someone scored well or badly on one of these tests, it shouldn’t be held as a predictor of how they will do in college. College is not a universal or one-dimensional experience for any student. There’s no way to predict how someone will do in college; therefore, these exams and their “predictability” are just not reliable anymore.
NC State, let’s retire the SAT/ACT admission requirement once and for all and simultaneously destroy College Board for making a profit off of students. I promise, your upcoming undergrads will appreciate it.