Time is up for standardized tests

Staff Editorial

It is only a matter of time before standardized testing becomes obsolete in the American education system, and for good reason. Standardized testing, since its implementation, has disproportionately hurt students of color, disabled students, and low-income students’ chances at scholarships and admissions to highly accredited schools.

Many highly renowned universities have, in recent years, terminated their previously mandatory submission of SAT or ACT scores in their applications. As of February 2022, there are more than 1,800 universities that have implemented a policy which makes submissions of these scores optional. 

Standardized testing, stemming back to its roots in America, aims to discriminate against marginalized communities. According to the National Education Association (NEA), Carl Brigham, who popularized standardized testing, used them to “show the superiority of the Nordic race group” when people of color began immigrating to America in greater numbers.

These tests were also used to determine if someone had a learning disability. While the tests were considered scientific, the NEA stated that “they remained deeply biased, according to researchers and media reports.” NEA interviewee, Troy Giles, cites standardized testing’s roots to be “scientists [becoming] obsessed with deviations and handicaps, both physical and intellectual.”

Low-income students also face struggles with standardized testing more than those in a high-income bracket. In order to retake the SAT, students must pay $60. This means that for many students, there is only one opportunity to get the score they are happy with. Some schools issue fee waivers for eligible students for a second opportunity, but after this, there is a consistent charge of $60 for everyone. Not only this, but SAT preparation classes can cost up to $2,000 on average, leaving many students without the resources to get the outside help that this training provides.

An important piece to keep in mind is that currently, SATs are legally required of all students in Illinois. The LT education board, while having power over decisions made at the school, can not change this. However, by blocking off an entire school day for SAT and PSAT testing, students do not have to worry about scheduling time outside of school to take a test that is legally required of them. Being able to come in during a time that is already a part of their routine  keeps things less stressful. While standardized testing should not be required, LT can not change this, and implementing a testing day into the curriculum prevents stress and helps to ensure that every student has the opportunity to take the exam.

At the end of the day, standardized testing exhibits a pattern of discrimination that goes all the way back to its creation. Testing like this only rewards students who are already privileged. It’s time that standardized testing gets left in our history books, and out of America’s education system.