Op-Ed: The Standard


By Gaia Richardson

Standardized tests today are elevated to a supreme status—colleges consider them to be efficient, accurate measures of a student’s academic abilities. But is there truth in that assumption?

Such tests seek to define intelligence within test scores and grade point averages. These numbers are calculated to represent ability, but they undermine the importance of education. While education should provide students with a set of useful skills, it should also foster a student’s desire to learn simply for the sake of learning.

Highschoolers see constant reminders of who they have become: a GPA, SAT, ACT or AP score. An effect of this obsession with grades is that students care less about truly learning or retaining information. The main focus of students lies not in learning and discovering, but in having an A to speak for it.

For instance, between 2008-2011, 20 students at Great Neck North High School were accused of either paying others to take the SAT or ACT in their place or of taking the test for someone else. Did they intend on raising their scores so as to be admitted into a “better college”? And did they not anticipate that these problems would arise, once accepted into college?

In spite of all this, sadly and yet not surprisingly, I cannot suggest any alternative method. While there are some accredited colleges that do not require the SAT or ACT, the options remain limited. This system does place scores above learning—reducing the importance of creativity and learning itself.

But it seems there is little to be done. Colleges evaluate thousands of applicants; thus, careful assessment on an individual basis is quite simply not an option. I suppose grades and other convenient indications, must, for now, suffice.

Perhaps it is time, then, to recognize that knowledge is equally as important as what you do with that knowledge. It’s not as if test scores alone can ensure success in life.

Source: Image courtesy of amenic181 from FreeDigitalPhotos.net