Colleges should include standardized testing in admissions | by Ethan Siegel | Starts With A Bang! | Mar, 2024


In order to admit the most promising students across all socioeconomic backgrounds, an approach that includes, rather than excludes, standardized testing leads to more equitable outcomes. (Credit: NAACP)

There are many problems with relying on SAT and ACT scores for college admissions. But removing them entirely creates less opportunity.

One of the most stressful times in a young person’s life occurs when they’re still a teenager: when they make their decisions surrounding applying to college. Should they apply, and is college right for them? Where should they apply, and what steps should they take and avoid taking in the application process? In recent years, that second question has also included the notion of whether or not those prospective college students should take a standardized test — such as the SAT or ACT — as those tests:

However, the goal of the college admissions process is for admissions officers to make distinctions between applicants who are likely to meet with academic success in college (and beyond) and those who are likely to struggle in college. Although it is true that standardized test scores alone tend to favor wealthy applicants, those tests remain a unique and powerful way for colleges and universities to identify students from schools without deep resources that nevertheless have the potential for extraordinary academic success. Here’s why colleges should — responsibly — include standardized testing as part of their admissions process.

During the 1940s, Einstein himself gave a number of lectures to students who would have, in the past, never have had access to a speaker such as himself. Einstein made it a point to be generous with his time and with affording others access to him, and was a prominent supporter of civil rights for all. Today, it is generally recognized that humans of all races and colors have similar potentials, but that individuals, because of socioeconomic concerns and other factors, are often denied equal opportunity in education. (Credit: Lincoln University of PA/Langston Hughes Memorial Library)

The basics: what is a standardized test?

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