It May be Time to Change the SAT Requirement

Alpha Bah, J1 Staff Writer

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Imagine living in a world where your entire life is based on a test you take when you are 16 or 17 years old. You haven’t lived more than half of your life yet and you are put in a position to set yourself up for success or failure. Well, for today’s teens, this is not something they need to imagine, as it represents the attitude most have when it comes to the SAT.

The SAT is a test many high school upperclassmen get anxiety about. Most students take a great deal of preparation to score high. Some take prep courses, hire tutors, or do online studying, which all can cost hundreds of dollars.  Next, most students must pay about $50 to take the test, whether they score well or not.  After a few weeks, the students scores are returned to them and are sent to colleges.  

According to an article from PBS, the SAT comes from a test originally used to test the IQ of army recruits. The SAT’s authors were Robert Yerkes, a Harvard professor, and Carl C. Brigham, who worked with Yerkes on the Army IQ test during World War I. Yerkes persuaded the U.S. army to allow him to test all recruits, and Brigham eventually began adapting the test for use as a college admissions test with the support of the College Board, which began in 1900. PBS reports, the College Board – originally called the “College Entrance Examination Board” – was set up by presidents of 12 leading universities to administer “admissions tests” with a purpose to “standardize the admissions process administratively and to force New England boarding schools to adopt a uniform curriculum. In 1901, the first College Boards were conducted.”

Now, roughly one hundred years later, how students do on the test varies significantly. According to Dr. Fred Zhang’s article on PrepScholar.com, Massachusetts students boast the highest “Average New SAT Score, Adjusted” in the nation at 1130, while West Virginia students average just 963.   Maryland sits right in the middle, in 26th place, with an average of 1057.

As for how students feel about the SAT, that also varies. Some students, like Paint Branch senior Dejuan Johnson, an honors student with a 4.46 GPA, don’t have much love for the test. “I don’t like the SAT because its weight and effect is too high, and can be a hindrance for those who struggle at taking tests, but are still great learners and students,” says Johnson.  

Makda Mandefro, a junior at Springbrook, says that the test is a big stressor in her life at the moment, as she feels that her parents are counting on her to do well for better college opportunities.

Most students who were asked about the test were not in favor of it. One student, Cameron Brown, a senior at Paint Branch, says the test is a good way to access student’s intelligence.

Now, it is evident that many students do not like the idea of the test, however, it has been the college application criteria for decades, and may be a little outdated.

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It May be Time to Change the SAT Requirement