Standardized tests too heavily weighted

Story by Sam Rosenberry


Obviously through the course of somebody’s life there are many big events. Graduating high school and college. Maybe marriage and the birth of your child if those are your cups of tea. Landing your first job — like actual, real life job — these are all big, if not stressful events.


Weirdly, I didn’t put taking a long, standardized exam in this list.


That’s because I don’t think that it should hold such importance, yet it very often does. The ones I have the biggest problem with are the SAT/ACT and the Graduate
Record Exam.


Let me immediately say that I don’t think all exams are silly. My primary problems lie in standardized exams that shouldn’t be a big deciding factor into what university or graduate program you get into. This is causing needless stress.


I’m talking about this now in light of the recent conviction of a college student who committed SAT fraud by taking the exam for high school students. Now, this isn’t Earth-shattering, as this happens every year and there was even a movie about stealing the SAT or something. However, it does show how important this exam is to people.


So much anxiety is created when your future is placed in a room for four hours.


There has always been pressure to succeed and everybody understands the weight of these exams, but I think it is magnified now. With the current job situation in this country as poor as it is, and the fact that we are competing with not only residents of this country, but with people across the globe, it can be hard to breathe.


You need to do well quickly and high scores on these exams can help you do that.


I guess some of this stress is psychologically engineered. There is not a uniform way that universities use standardized exams. Some greatly rely on these scores and some don’t even require them. Regardless of where the pressure is coming from, it’s there.


I think people should want to succeed and having to try harder to do this isn’t a bad thing, but these tests are not necessarily measures of either.


They’re tests of comprehension with sections that are too brief to display multiple years
of experience.


It’s this brevity that should be noted, because I’m okay with the BAR and Medical Certification examinations, because they are very specific.


I’m not belittling those who do well on standardized exams either, and I do think it takes intelligence to succeed on them, but that doesn’t mean it should be an important requirement of your future.


It incompletely shows what you are capable of as a student and a person.


What you accomplished over several years in high school or college should always be of much greater importance. Your grades, internships and volunteer work are
what counts.


Maybe the GRE or the SAT can be placement exams into a certain section or level of a class, but nothing more.


I also understand that these exams are just a part of your admittance and there are many graduate schools that don’t place high importance on GRE, but these exams shouldn’t even be put on even footing with the other requirements at any level
of schooling.


There are many things to be stressed about or to feel pressure from. Let’s not have a standardized test be one of them.


Sam Rosenberry is a senior print journalism major and News Editor at The Spectator.