Story by Ellie Youngs, Reporter
Over the past few years, there has been a decrease in exactly how much value is put on the scores of standardized tests for students across the country. Ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many colleges and universities have stopped relying so heavily on a student’s SAT or ACT scores as a measurement of their success or their intelligence. So, what does this mean for students from here on out?
While a standardized test such as the SAT or the ACT may indicate a student’s ability to work through certain problems, there are also so many skills that these tests do not measure, and therefore, many students receive results that may not accurately display their skills and their knowledge.
It is becoming increasingly well-known that many students do, indeed, struggle with test anxiety. According to Dr. Tahoon Rehab, some underlying physical and physiological symptoms of test anxiety may include insomnia, nightmares, increased heart rate and muscle tension, as well as increased levels of irritability and a decrease in a student’s ability to focus on a given task.
To speak on another problem that hurts the validity of standardized tests, they are rooted in racist practices. According to The National Education Association, in the beginning of the 19th century, many of the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants began to grow concerned about immigrants making their way into the nation’s schools. Eugenicist Carl Brigham wrote in his 1923 book, “A Study of American Intelligence,” that he believed that these forms of testing would show the “superiority of the Nordic Race,” as well as warn people of the “promiscuous intermingling of new immigrants in the American gene pool.”
These standardized tests have been deeply racially biased, and it is especially evident in areas where students of color are the majority.
As a result of systemic racism, redlining and gentrification, many urban neighborhoods where the income is lower also have lower property taxes. When the property tax is lower, not as much funding goes into those schools. Therefore, many urban schools have been receiving lower test scores on average because they have not been given the proper tools to prepare for the tests in the first place.
Maybe putting an end to such a heavy reliance on these tests isn’t such a bad thing. After all, there is more than one version of success. And, by taking away the weight, stress, and pressure of taking these tests, students will be better able to pursue what it is they are skilled at, and the debilitating fear of failure will not stop them from taking these kinds of risks.