SAT tests must return or applying to college will be a challenge


Graphic by Marlo Von der Ahe ’20

Although it is hard to think of a way to resume SAT testing during this pandemic, we must find a way or else both colleges and students will endure the consequences.

As the coronavirus keeps life at a standstill, not only has education halted, but the option to take SAT tests has also stopped. This presents a dilemma to students looking to apply to college next year. Since standardized testing is one of the biggest ways for colleges to assess students on whether or not they are a good fit, taking away that facet will eliminate a vital component of the college process. Although it is hard to think of a way to resume testing during this pandemic, we must find a way, otherwise both colleges and students will face the consequences.
Colleges utilize these SAT tests to judge each student. It makes a major difference if two students have 4.0 GPAs, but one student got a 1500 on the SAT while the other one got an 1100. Standardized tests allow colleges to put all the students who applied on a scale, and they use each component of the students’ application to carefully make a decision. Removing one of the biggest components from the process will do no good for anyone. It will eliminate the competition between the students, and may tip the scales in one student’s favor, when another student deserves the spot just as much. 

Taking the tests online is an option that has been considered, but that is a slippery slope. Students could find a way to cheat, collaborate with friends or even work side by side with a tutor throughout the whole test. If cheating occurs, then all the test scores will increase, making it even harder for a college to accept and deny certain students.  

If SAT testing were online, each student could possibly Zoom or Facetime in so the proctor could see them testing live. However, there is still opportunity for cheating to occur because the proctor would not be able to see what the student is doing outside of the video frame. They could be looking at another device or supplementary information right behind the computer screen. 

One solution to this testing crisis is instead of having around 20 students in each testing room, there would only be allowed a maximum of five students per classroom. This would ensure that all the desks are six feet apart. Although this would decrease the number of overall students taking the test, at least in-person testing could be an option. 

If testing cannot resume, I think all colleges must become test-optional. This will affect the variety of judgement that a college has to evaluate a student, but there may be no other way that students can take the test. 

As a junior, I always wished that I didn’t have to take standardized tests and submit my scores to colleges. But, looking back, I realized that my scores probably helped me have an edge over other students. I’m glad I went through that tough process, because now I am accepted into college. Although preparing and taking the tests seems never-ending and pointless, it definitely helps both colleges and students.  

Overall, SAT testing can set people apart from each other during the college process. It serves as a vital way to test a student’s academic performance in a timed manner. If we take this away, it will be incredibly hard for colleges to make their decisions. Testing needs to be slowly and safely incorporated back into ordinary life, so that students will be ready to apply to colleges in the fall.