Opinion: SAT and ACT tests are unnecessary and unfair


Liam Harrington, Staff Writer

The University of California schools have stopped using students’ ACT & SAT test scores to determine their acceptances. These exams are outdated and do not adequately assess intellect and academic readiness. Not only do standardized tests fail to accurately evaluate intelligence, but massive race and wealth gaps exist in SAT scores which perpetuate systemic racism and unfair advantages.

For families whose income is more than $200,000, the median SAT score was significantly higher than those of  families whose income was less. This suggests the test is designed in a way that unfairly serves the rich. With more money, families are able to afford standardized test tutors and a variety of other resources that lower income families cannot  access.  The SATs and ACTs cost money for each exam one takes, so a student with more money can take the test multiple times while a less wealthy student may only be able to take it once.The phasing out of the SAT and ACT will prevent these unjust aspects of college applications from being a prominent factor in  the admission process. 

Racial gaps suggest that other cultural factors create additional bias in the test against the less privileged in society. The educational institution, Brookings, conducted research that exemplifies this. 

“The scores of black and Latino students are clustered towards the bottom of the distribution, while white scores are relatively normally distributed, and Asians are clustered at the top,” said research institution, Brookings Institute. Statistics like these prove that there is an obvious and questionable gap within the SAT due to race. 

The test does not accurately predict how well students do in college, as a 2014 study carried out by Bates College over 20 years found no distinction in performance or graduation rates between students who took the optional SAT and those who didn’t. This shows how the test doesn’t actually test for performance in school. 

Ultimately, many people who are smart struggle with test-taking and the SATs and ACTs poorly reflect their aptitude. To have such an arbitrary test determine a student’s future is completely unjust, as a low score does not ultimately show how intelligent a student is, or how eligible they are for a certain college. Especially now, Covid-19 has made it harder to safely administer the test, so it seems like a perfect time to phase out the requirement.