Fix The SAT, Or Abolish It

The SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) is a standardized college admissions test that was created in 1926 by the College Board. The test’s purpose is to assess a student’s academic capabilities and their readiness for higher education.

Many consider this the most important test students ever take in their high school career because of its connection to college acceptances, but recent events have shifted that belief. The pandemic has made the submission of SAT scores optional which is why many are questioning the significance and fairness of the test. 

“No, students should not take the SAT because one major test grade should not determine how you get into college. One test shouldn’t determine how smart or how intelligent a person is,” senior Stephanie Rampersaud said. 

The test has a clear stigma around it, with higher scores being associated with a student being smarter, even though it’s not entirely true. There are so many other factors that contribute to a student’s score, making it an unfair representation of their academic capabilities. 

“There’s a lot of anxiety and nervousness and talk around the test, which left me in a very bad mood,” Rampersaud said. 

In the high school environment, the SAT is seen as something that determines your entire future. It’s not your average test that students normally take, which is why so many kids put so much pressure on themselves for the test. Ultimately, I think the pressure of succeeding takes a toll on students mentally, and on their score. 

“What was unfair about the SAT to me is that many topics that were on it, I had not learned it at the moment yet, and I wasn’t used to the timing of the parts,” Rampersaud said. 

In the junior year when students typically take the SAT, the levels of math and english classes that students are in vary. Some students are scheduled to take more advanced classes than others which leaves some students prepared for the exam, while others are not. 

“With more schools going test-optional, grades during the whole school years I think should matter more than just one test,” Rampersaud said. 

The flaws around the SAT can’t be ignored. Students don’t feel as if the SAT is a true measure of their academic capabilities. Students would much rather be judged on their current academic history, which I see to be true to my peers. The majority of this year’s graduating class went test-optional, and I personally don’t know anyone who has submitted their scores to colleges. This shift from the past years has deeply affected the college decision process. 

“Some colleges have stated they’re reinstating the SAT, so things have changed within one week, and I believe that it’s because of the test-optional they’ve been overwhelmed with applications,” librarian Nira Psaltos said. 

Student’s have been steering away from the SAT, and it seems as though colleges are pushing back. Yale and Dartmouth are the latest schools that have made the submission of test scores mandatory as it was in the past, but students and teachers are still torn on the fairness of the exam. 

“Sometimes testing is not a measure of academic success because you have people who are just not good test takers, you have people who have more opportunities to be prepped for the test,” Psaltos said. 

One of my main issues with the SAT is that it is rigged by socioeconomic factors. People whose families have more income can afford expensive SAT test prep that most people can’t. They sometimes even go to better schools and get external help that improves their score. Flaws exist with and without schools using SAT scores. 

“The test in theory should be something that helps colleges decide who should be there, and test optional was seen to break the barriers and let everyone apply, but then your basing it on transcripts which have a big disparity, and I wonder if students who look good on paper going into college and maybe a little bit in over their heads,” Psaltos said. 

There’s too many factors in whether submitting SAT scores should be optional or mandatory, but I’m leaning more towards optional. Given the current state of the test, I think students deserve a choice in what they submit. I’m against the current SAT, but am all ears for a revised, fairer version. I don’t think students should take the test and submit scores until it’s truly free for all in every way, and students have the same test prep opportunities, take the same classes beforehand, etc.

Rameshwar Tilacknauth

Hi, my name is Rameshwar, and I am a senior at Thomas Edison High School. I’ve always been a very artsy person, and love creating new things, including writing. I draw, bake, enjoy pop-culture, and fashion. My favorite pastime is watching tv-shows and movies. I hope my writing can bring positivity your way!