What is the controversy of the SAT?

What is the controversy of the SAT?

Colleges are continuing to drop requirements for standardized testing, with more than 1,700 schools remaining test-optional for the class of 2024, says Higher Ed Drive.

The SATs have been in severe controversy for quite some time now. What was once known as one of the most important tests you can take, is now voluntary in over half of all four-year colleges. 

COVID-19 was what brought light on the issue of standardized testing. Schools realized that students online had an unfair advantage and canceled the test between 2020-2021. After those few years of cancellation, the conversation asking if the SAT is even needed was opened. 

One of the main focuses schools had when evaluating the test, was fairness. Standardized tests in general have a history of being discriminatory towards people of lower income and particularly people of color. It is believed the testing system is outdated and doesn’t reflect a student’s true knowledge. 

According to Brookings, 54% of white students met the college readiness benchmark compared to less than a quarter percent of black people and under a third of Hispanic or Latino students. Black and Hispanic or Latino students routinely score less on the SAT- a likely result of generations of exclusionary housing, education, and economic policy.

Another thought was the overall stress a test like this brings. Tests in general can be very stressful for many students. The SAT, however, is arguably one of the most stressful tests students can take. The problem with stress is it’s known to negatively affect scores. According to Learning Liftoff, students who reacted strongly to the stress of testing, scored .40 standard deviations lower on tests.

Hours of studying, taking the test, and then the stress of waiting on your score is a major price to pay for a test that is statistically not fair for everyone.

“Living in a lower class area that didn’t value my education as much, I could feel how unfair it was after taking the test,” an anonymous source said. “Talking with some of my friends who lived in better school districts, and hearing their experiences made me feel that I was very unprepared and that I wasn’t given the opportunity to understand as much as others who have also taken the test.”