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THE PROWL

Should schools be test-optional?

Students and schools aren’t sure what’s best when it comes to standardized testing
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During the application process for applying to colleges you may be required to submit your SAT or ACT scores. The SAT/ACT are widely used standardized tests for college admissions but more colleges have become score optional. Colleges chose to be more flexible with their admissions after the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. Since then, many colleges have decided to stay test optional for a while but there’s still some that require test scores when applying. This has sparked some controversy for students who have strong feelings on the matter.

There seems to be a few disadvantages for both the students and the school when test scores are required. Students might feel discouraged to apply if the score they got on the test doesn’t align with the school’s range of scores. If scores are required, the likelihood of getting accepted may have decreased if your score isn’t necessarily high enough to meet the school’s expectations. This only adds more pressure to students and lessens the amount of applications a school will receive, but I guess that’s the whole point for more prestigious schools. 

Schools that are test optional seem to receive applications from a more diverse applicant pool and these same schools have had a growth in enrollment and a steady student performance. Going test-optional only provides students the opportunity to decide whether or not they think their score better reflects their academic ability. If it doesn’t, there are always other ways to prove yourself to college admission officers such as your personal essay or overall grades.

“I think test scores should be optional because they do not reflect a student well enough,” said Brie Wharton (12). “When I applied to schools, I only applied to test optional schools, not because I’m dumb or too lazy to take the test but because as someone with ADHD who needs testing accommodations, it is a hassle to have to accommodate for them and then still have to take the test later. In my opinion, SAT/ACT doesn’t reflect my work ethic, me in the classroom, study habits, etc. I got into over 7 schools with just my essay and grades alone because they better reflect who I am and if I will be a good fit for the school.” 

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On the other hand, there’s some advantages when it comes to requiring test scores. Some schools may still require test scores to place students in classes that are at the right academic level for them. Test scores also help more selective schools pick only the best and most fitting for their school, according to their expectations. It’s understandable as to why some colleges may still require test scores but I still think they’re outdated and there are better ways to determine a students capabilities. 

“I think test scores should be optional because test scores do not determine your intelligence as a whole, it shows how well you’re able to retain information on the test,” said Brooke Hopewell (12). “Most of the time the first test you take isn’t always the best, so I feel like the test scores don’t show a student’s true potential.” 

There seems to be a lot of stigma surrounding test scores and many students have been induced with anxiety over it. It’s important to know that some are simply better at test taking than others and you should not let it undermine all of the achievements you have made during the last four years of high school. Whether you decide to submit your scores or not, remember that a test does not determine your intelligence or capabilities to learn.

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About the Contributor
Abbey Huffer, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Abbey Huffer is a senior at Independence High School. This is her fourth year in journalism and third year writing for her school's newspaper. She was a managing editor her junior year and she hopes to be an editor again for The Prowl. Abbey was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina but moved around until she landed in Virginia. She has always enjoyed voicing her opinions which she began to do through my writing. She likes to write about current news, mainly on the environment, opinion pieces, or entertainment. She would love to publish even more articles this year that involve and attract more readers. After graduating high school, her plan is to major in pre-law at NOVA, then transfer to GMU. Abbey enjoys writing, listening to music, and spending time with my friends and family. Her favorite way to spend my free time is watching a show with her two cats, Nala and Leo.