This week we're showcasing a persuasive essay by homeschooled high schooler Noah S., who is midway through our Essay Rock Star full semester program. In this essay, Noah demonstrates his strong logical thinking and reasoning skills. Not only that, he also took the initiative to seek and include research from other sources to support his position. Well done, Noah!
College Entrance Exams are Valid Measures of Future Success
by Noah S.
Every year, thousands of high school students take the well-known SAT or ACT for college admission requirements. The tests have long been viewed as a good predicator of future college success. The College Board agrees, saying “The primary purpose of the SAT is to measure a student’s potential for academic success in college” (Kobrin, et.al., 2008). The argument has been made recently that the SAT and ACT are not valid indicators of success as the tests only take into account one aspect of a student. However, aptitude and achievement test still have a place in the admission process. Standardized testing prepares students for college level testing, offers the most objective data available for colleges to compare students and in turn levels the playing field for all students to be measured. The SAT/ACT should remain a requirement for college admissions as the tests are valid indicators of future success.
Taking the SAT and ACT are an important aspect of preparing for college level testing. Every college experience will include test taking as a valuable skill. Learning to prepare for taking exams is therefore a critical part of assessing future college success. I recently studied for these college entrance exams myself and know the level of studying required is intensive. Preparation for the exam requires a level of dedication and independence which mimics what real college testing is like. Some would argue that the test questions are not like college exams because the content is too generalized. However, it is the process of learning how to study which translates to college success.
Standardized college admissions testing is an objective way to measure potential for college success. The tests are graded by machines, giving no one student an advantage. Scores are generated based solely on correct or incorrect answers, making the test unbiased. Standardized testing is meant to assess a student’s current, core knowledge. This means it should be information the student already knows. All students are therefore held to the same standard. For those that argue the test is not objective due to questions about a particular culture, the bottom line is the test assesses for current, core knowledge and logical reasoning skills. The questions are the most objective means of evaluating those skills and are therefore unbiased.
Lastly, standardized testing levels the playing field for all students. The SAT and ACT provide all students the ability to be compared across a consistent test regardless of their educational background. “Without these tests, colleges would place more emphasis on high school grades, which are even more widely disproportionate” (McWilliams, 2012). As a homeschooler, standardized admission tests allow me to prove that my course of study and the grades I receive are indeed true measures of my knowledge. The tests show I can independently study high school curricula and still score well on an objective admission test. The argument could be made that some students will not perform well on standardized testing so it is not a valid means of comparison. However, the SAT and ACT are still the most valid and neutral means of evaluation for college success, as grades alone can be both subjective and variable.
The SAT and ACT are valid measures of potential success in college. Standardized testing prepares students for college level work, is an objective means of comparing students and provides equal assessment for all students. Colleges agree- as they are not lifting the requirement for standardized testing anytime soon. The best approach is to embrace the positive about the testing and study to prove oneself.
Jennifer Kobrin, Brian Patterson, Emily Shaw. (2008). Validity of the SAT for Predicting First-Year College Grade Point Average. Retrieved from collegeboard.com: professionals.collegeboard.com
McWilliams, F. (2012, March 8). ACT Scores and SAT scores- Do They Predict College Success. Retrieved from Method Test Prep: info.methodtestprep.com