Are standardized all that?

Maya Quinanola, Reporter

Standardized tests are considered a major part of the college application process because many colleges require either an ACT or SAT score sent. The ACT considers four test subject areas: English, math, reading and science, plus an optional writing test. In the past, students would retake the entire test to raise a subject section. But as of fall 2020, the ACT will allow students to retake specific subjects to super score, combining their highest subject scores to increase their overall, and bypass retaking the entire test. 

The effectiveness of the original standardized testing format was already a controversial topic among several professors and universities. Researchers discovered income has vast impact on their students abilily to perform on standardized tests. Harvard Law Professor Lani Guinier critized the standardized tests is not a measurement of academic ability or knowledge, rather a wealth test.

“Your height corresponds to you weight better than your test score correlates with your first-year [college] grades,” said Guinier, “No one claims that aptitude tests predict leadership, predict emotional intelligence, predict the capacity to make a contribution to society. The only relationship is between test and first-year college grades.”

These modifications are meant to spare students from unnecessary test taking time. However, these changes may offer wealthy students an advantage because the test itself costs roughly sixty dollars each and retake subject tests will require a fee as well. Students from Ballard High School are concerned about the new format implementing a greater disadvantage for low-income compared to high-income students in the college admission process.

“Speaking on behalf of myself, I could not afford tutoring or recieve accurate accomadations for my ADHD,” said senior Madi Lavin, “Now that students in similar financial pools as me or even lower will be at a greater disadvantage than before and worries me that this is taking a step backwards in equal opportunity.”

Several colleges have changed their application to test optional, allowing students the option to not report their standardize test scores. Including prestigious schools, such as New York University, Pitzer, Colorado College, and Bowdoin. This is an effort to increase equal admission opportunity among students from different financial status’.

“This is not the first disadvantage of the ACT for lower-income families, wealthier families can provide tutoring for standardize tests, college prep high school and pay for several [test]  retakes,” said Lavin, “I think it is dangerous to make changes that could potentially increase difficulty for lower-income students recieve higher scores, seriously colleges should go test optional because the ACT does not reflect anything but socio-economic status.”