A month ago, the president of University of California, Richard Atkinson, called for the elimination of the Scholastic Aptitude Test for admission into the University. This caused an uproar in higher educational institutions nationwide. Already hundreds of small private colleges do not use the SATs in their acceptance process. The schools that put the most emphasis on them are the larger, more selective schools like the Ivy Leagues.
The SATs are economically and culturally biased, so they should not have so much emphasis put on them for college admission. Economically, because high schools that have SAT prep classes and supplemental courses are in good school districts, which are usually in rich neighborhoods. If a student wants to prepare for the SATs, not everyone can afford a prep class like the ones administered by the Princeton Review. Not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on prep books, CD-ROMs, and the price it takes to take the test multiple times. By putting too much weight on the SATs, it is saying that a good education is only for the rich. Every year, many qualified students with good grades are kept out of top colleges because of low SAT scores. Minorities, poor students and international students are affected the most.
The college you choose (or the one that chooses you) determines your whole future, and not only that, the SATs are used for special awards and grants, based on scores. Low scores can ruin the self-esteem of an otherwise intelligent student.
As students, and more importantly as human beings, we are slowly becoming more identifiable as numbers rather than people. The SATs are useful for large universities (like Temple) to select students in a simple way, but are too heavily used in the acceptance process. There are much more important factors like GPA, class rank, teacher recommendations, interviews, essays, extra curricular activities, and involvement in the community.
Basically the SATs test your ability to take tests. There should be more emphasis on a test which actually looks at what you learn in school, like the SAT II’s.
The compromise here would be to make the SATs optional. To totally get rid of the SATs right away would be harsh for students who have intelligence (maybe from reading many books) but who slacked off or were disinterested in classes. The University of California system is developing a new test, which would more accurately measure knowledge rather than test taking abilities. All higher education institutions nationwide should take after their example.