SAT Scores a Good Indicator of Future Success?

ImageWhat?

There are a number of things that SAT scores claim to indicate. It has been argued that the scores indicate a students’ innate ability, knowledge gained in schooling, and potential success in college, among other things. The College Board suggests that the verbal section is meant for students show a comprehension of vocabulary and discourse while the math section is meant to show an understanding of complex mathematical concepts and problem solving. 

The data on SAT scores is collected by Educational Testing Service as well as The College Board and is used by countless institutions. Essentially, new data is collected on SAT scores with every test that is taken. There are a great deal of studies conducted on the data received through SAT testing. For example, some recent studies focused on the correlation between scores and college retention, predicting success at four-year universities, and the relationship between socioeconomic status and SAT scores. It is important that the Board provides this data because it is useful to so many people. 

So what?

SAT scores as an indicator are incredibly interesting because of the importance placed on them by so many people. High school seniors see SAT scores as their ticket into college, university admissions officers view them as a way to judge a students aptitude, and parents of potential students might view SAT scores as a way for their child to receive scholarships and save money. SAT scores draw attention to some of the issues brought on by higher education in general.

The issues brought to my attention are not necessarily directly from SAT scores but more derived from the importance placed on them. There has been great emphasis placed on these scores, and for the most part their significance has only grown. However, some feel that a standardized test is not the best way to conceptualize the abilities of a student. Can a number truly represent the entirety of a person’s scholastic knowledge? It has been suggested by numerous scholars that perhaps all students who have potential to succeed in a college setting do not necessarily test well. These students are therefore forced to attend a lower accredited university, if any. The focus on SAT scores and achieving that 1600 (or 2400 on the newest version of the test), or for achieving whatever score gets a student into any given institution cannot be ignored. 

Now what?

Texas has specifically had a problem with test scores an overall inability to be successful in college. So how do they fix it? MORE TESTS! They’re adding placement tests to the already incredible amount of standardized testing the students and teachers are suffering through. This can’t be the right answer.  We’ve all heard teachers complaining about having to teach to the standardized tests. How much is that hurting our innovative and creative capacities?I feel the answer lies at a much more fundamental level. Change is this arena is a long time coming and it will probably be a while before major change is made, but it’s happening slowly. For example, my hometown has opened a high school that for the more creative type, many of whom have trouble with standardized testing. They allow them invaluable creative outlets while also providing academic lessons on par with the standards of learning seen in traditional schools.

See also: the effects of the pressure to perform 

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