Is the SAT Really Testing Us at the Appropriate Level?

Is the SAT Really Testing Us at the Appropriate Level?

Zoputa Difini, Staff Writer

SATs, where do I even start? The SATs are something all of us know and something all of us deal with. The test focuses on your proficiency in reading, language and writing, and math. To be honest I’m OK with the reading, language and writing sections, but we need to talk about the math. The SATs only test a student’s knowledge up to Algebra 2 in math and that infuriates me.

Since we were kids, math has been a focus for us. Elementary schools usually separate students into two groups: kids who take “regular” math classes and kids who take higher level math classes. The second group, which is often made up of students labeled GT or gifted and talented or students who simply have a strong understanding of math concepts, take advanced math starting in elementary school and often continue this trend in middle school and into high school.

What this means is that by the time we get to the SATs in our junior year there are students who are enrolled in courses like calculus. For these students, algebra is nothing more than a memory. However, with algebra making up the majority of the math portion of the SATs these kids are sort of at a disadvantage. How is that fair?

I know that there is a counter argument to this. People will say if the kids in these advanced classes have already taken Algebra 2 and below they should easily be able to review it, but to review means to go back to learn skills from years ago while, at the same time, being able to keep up with the advanced math class your currently in plus the workload that comes from all the other advanced classes.

The SAT is a test that is literally a determining factor in our future, yet somehow it’s found a way to be unfair to those who’ve been pushing themselves for years.

Those who determine what is on the SAT want students to, in addition to the already loaded workload of junior year, spend significant time refreshing our memories on math concepts that we learned years ago. Junior year is the busiest year of any high school student, so adding on to this is just not necessary.
There is one group who benefits from this. Those who have followed a traditional math route are perhaps in better shape for the SAT because Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 are more current for them, but those who have advanced more quickly should not suffer.

There is a way to fix this, though. The SAT math section should be designed specifically not to exactly fit each person’s intellect, but keep in account that others haven’t seen this information in years. Therefore allowing the SATs to be put on a curve for those who are in higher math classes, learning things unbeknownst to the majority of their peers who simply have been coasting by, and if we can’t we shouldn’t be taking such a test that plays a huge role in our future.

In truth, the only thing that will make a person succeed in life is character and the students in AP classes, honors, IB, and any other advanced classes have been pushing themselves and showing an immense amount of character for years. These students have been striving their whole educational careers to be beyond average and it saddens me to see their future is based on a test that favors the average.