Assessing the Merit of the SAT Standardized Test

What does it stand for? The Saturday Afternoon Test, no. More seriously, it is the Scholastic Assessment Test; it is the test where college bound students spends endless hours studying and hoping to get a good grade. The test is their last chance to make it to a college of their choice. All this anxiety for one test, which may make or break a college career. In his editorial, “Where’s the Merit in the SAT?” Eugene Garcia takes a stance against the test. Garcia questioning the commonplace acceptance of using the SAT’s as a resource to emphasize one’s academic status reflects my questioning of the commonplace acceptance of using ethnicity as a resource to reinvent one’s social status.

Garcia believes the acceptance of using the S. A.T. as a resource to emphasize one’s academic status is wrong. Garcia points out in his article that the S. A.T. was initially not produced for testing purposes but, “a tool created for admissions officers inundated with applications from the baby boom generation.” And from there on the S. A.T began to evolve into what it is today, “a vaulting pole that could benefit ostensibly bright students with poorer grades.” Garcia writes that since incoming college students are forced to take the test, the students accept it as part of the routine into getting into a college, and do not question the merit in a test like the S. A.T. Garcia uses the example of a, “high school student who has a 3.94 G. P.A., won awards for dancing and an all around leader… but scored poorly on the S. A.T.” He states that even though the student has all the requirements for a, “good university,” she would be turned down because admission officers, “looking at her S. A.T. scores, may indeed be skeptical of this student’s academic merit.” Garcia thinks this is a mistake because all the S. A.T. does is look at knowledge. He considers that any test should evaluate, “the circumstances on which students are schooled.” He suggests that a student, “who has excelled in academics, shown leadership ability and performed community service,” should be given as much consideration as a, “prep-school student, with a similar G. P.A., but a hundred points higher on their S. A.T. score.” Garcia points out that the prep-school student would almost certainly get into the better college because, “his parents probably sent him to an expensive S. A.T. course.” Garcia shows how students can manipulate the admission’s system to their advantage because of an elevated S. A.T. score; he believes this is unreasonable to students who deserve to go to college, but are not able to because of the way academic merit is measured by admission officers. Garcia’s proposal to eliminate the S. A.T. is not about lowering academic standards, but in his words, it is about insuring that all high - achieving students get a fair chance at the opportunity of a good college education.

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