The Problems with Standardized Testing: Opinion Editorial

Elle Pickering and Isabelle Kidd

We believe that standardized testing does not measure a student’s creativity or intelligence, which are characteristics that universities seek in their potential students. In past years, we have seen our peers struggle with the SAT and the ACT tests due to test-taking disabilities, time commitment and expenses associated with hiring a tutor. 

Testing anxiety is an obstacle that can affect how many students perform on these daunting tests. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD, and Attention Deficit Disorder, known as ADD, are disorders that make it difficult to pay attention to detail or focus on a specific task. We don’t think it’s fair for these types of students who struggle more than others to be subjected to these standardized tests because they don’t capture the students’ strengths and capabilities. 

Certain students with learning disabilities can be granted additional time on the test if needed. Though in the past, this option has been given to students who do not require it, creating a larger disadvantage for those who struggle. 

Local SAT and ACT tutoring companies include Loudoun Test Prep, Georgetown Learning Centers and C2 Education. They are all at least thirty minutes away from Loudoun Valley High School, causing an accumulation of commuting expenses. 

Test preparation itself is known to be expensive. Loudoun Test Prep offers three different tutoring programs, ranging from $1,299 for the eight-week group program to $4,999 for thirty-two hours of private instruction. Though there are free study resources online, in-person tutoring is proven to increase a test taker’s score more than the online option. Many high school students are also solely responsible for paying for these external study sessions. 

James Madison University no longer requires SAT or ACT scores. The undergraduate admissions team has said that a student’s high school curriculum is a stronger indicator of a student’s potential. They believe that test scores do not measure any student’s depth of knowledge on any topic. This statement is also backed up by Robert Schaeffer, Public Education Director for Fairtest, who believes that the SAT and ACT tests are not necessary for acceptance decisions.