The Standardized Admission Test is the U.S. education system's most widely used college admission exam. High school students take the SAT in both their junior and senior year. The score they get on the test often determines their placement in colleges. The highest a students can score on the SAT is 2400. The score tests both english and math capabilities and are split into several sections that test different levels of reasoning.
The SAT is supposed to gauge if a child is ready for college. Teachers must prepare students for taking the SATs, so often teachers must teach requirements to prepare students for the test and within a specific time frame, meaning children will be prepared for college. Good preparation throughout high school can reduce the stress of taking the SAT. It lets schools gauge how successful a student will do in specific programs and their choice of major.
Room For Improvement
High schools do not use the same GPA scale. The SATs also give students, teachers and parents an idea of how their child is doing in school. The scores are compared to both a local and national landscape so parents can compare. The SAT is not the only standardized test students must take. During school, students must take an annual standardized test, so parents and teachers can track a student's improvement. It also allows schools to compare how their students are doing so the state can see where some school districts need improvement.
Expenses and Discrimination
SATs have several cons. Taking the SAT is expensive. SATs can be taken twice for free and sent to four colleges. Preparation classes and sending the SAT to more colleges or taking it more times will cost extra. Many low-income students and parents lack these services or access to quality education and score lower on the tests. Fairtest claims the SAT puts female students at a disadvantage to mail students due to the wording of the questions.
Stress On Teachers and Students
The SAT puts both students and teachers under a lot of stress. Some school districts are under pressure to raise children's scores and decrease the amount of time a child has for lunch, gym or other extracurricular activities. All past scores for the SAT are also examined by colleges, so if you have a bad day, you are out of luck. Many teachers will also teach specifically to the test and not employ any creativity into teaching.
More than 830 four-year colleges consider the SAT optional, according to Fairtest. Some schools evaluate students based on the essays they write, their extra curricular activities and their GPA. More than 80 percent of the students still submit scores though, according to CNN.
- SAT: About The Tests
- Montgomery Educational Counseling; The SAT, ACT and Test Optional Admissions; June 2008
- CNN; More Colleges Move Toward Optional SATs; Elizabeth Landau; May 2008
- FairTest; A Better Way To Assess Students and Evaluate Schools; Monty Neill; June 2010
- FairTest; SAT Gender Gap Grows Again; October 1998
- Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images