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Demosthenes's avatar

Do you think the SAT and ACT are still relevant? Did you take them?

Asked by Demosthenes (9287points) 5 days ago

The University of California system is suspending the SAT and/or ACT as requirements for admission. There is speculation that other universities across the country may do the same.

One key motive for doing so, according to UC, is that the SAT and ACT are unfair to poorer black and Hispanic students who can’t afford or have little access to tutoring and “prep”, which provide test-takers a clear advantage.

Critics from the College Board point out that the UC system may create its own test, which will cause students to have to take more tests if the SAT and ACT are still required to apply to other colleges. Others say the problem is the poor quality of schools in black and Hispanic neighborhoods and that this does not get at the root of inequality and why these demographics are underrepresented at the colleges.

I took both the SAT and ACT and did well on both, though I did better on the SAT. I had no prep or tutoring, though my parents certainly could’ve afforded it. I was not interested.

How important do you think tests (of any kind) are for college admissions?

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8 Answers

Caravanfan's avatar

I agree with UC. I was able to afford prep tutoring for my daughter and she was able to increase her ACT score by 2 after prepping. I did not WANT to pay for the prep tutoring, but it’s like game theory. If everybody else cheats you’re at a disadvantage if you don’t cheat. (Not that prep tutoring is cheating but you know what I mean).

Poor students are at a disadvantage when it comes to standardized testing, as their parents often can not afford the tutoring. Therefore when it comes to the game, you’re playing at a disadvantage.

I’d be okay with keeping the test if there was still affirmative action but California passed an anti-affirmative action law Proposition 209 (which I voted against).

zenvelo's avatar

I was accepted into the University of California based on my SAT scores, as I was a lackluster student in high school..

When I was in high school,the ACT was a waste of time as only second tier schools used it.

Demosthenes's avatar

@zenvelo That’s another important point. For some, the test may be a primary factor in their admission. It can benefit students whose grades are not up to par. (I don’t know the statistics on how this relates to the underrepresented minority groups, but it was brought up in one article I read).

Caravanfan's avatar

@zenvelo That’s changed about the ACT. Everybody uses it now and it’s equal to the SAT. It’s interesting, though, that public high schools tend to lean SAT and private high schools lean ACT.

Demosthenes's avatar

@Caravanfan I went to a public high school and the SAT was far more popular; everyone took it, but the ACT was marketed to us as optional and fewer students took it. At least this was the case back in 2008–2009.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I took the ACT but never needed to submit the scores. I went to Community College first and they had their own entrance exam. I then transferred to a four year University so my scores never factored into acceptance. I took the GRE for grad school but they did not use it as a deciding factor. I took the GMAT recently for an online MBA but I met all the requirements without needing a certain score. I was just required to take all these exams which cost too much for what they are. It’s a racket and for those who need the scores it’s too easy to cheat by tutoring or getting someone to take it for you ( I know this happens). It pushes educators into teaching to score high on those tests and nothing else.

johnpowell's avatar

I didn’t take either test since I was broke as fuck living with my broke ass sister. College wasn’t a option. At least I didn’t know it was a option.

But I did eventually end up going when I was 24 since the old FAFSA would pay for everything. Did two years at a community college and switched to a well known University (Think Nike). You should see how much I owe for student loans.. Oh, that’s right, I don’t owe anything. I walked away with minimal damage.

Thank you Federal Government and Pell grants.

JLeslie's avatar

I had never heard of ACT until I transferred to Michigan State University. My impression back then (1997) was that the Midwest, and maybe other regions of the country used it, and the east coast (where I was from) used the SAT.

I tend to think the tests are valid, since studies show they do correlate to the likely success a student will have getting through college and higher GPA, but it’s worth noting that high school GPA seems to matter more than SATs when compiling the data.

I think lower SAT scores across a population is an indicator of below par K-12 education, and maybe even difficult living conditions growing up.

My dad and his peers were POOR. Really really poor. All of them tested well. This is back in the 60’s. My dad told me he studied the prep books for the SAT before taking it. My dad is very smart, and willing to work hard. NY at the time had school programs that gave attention to kids who showed academic prowess. There were magnet schools for science, art, and accelerated learning for those who could keep up.

I was lazy and barely studied for the SAT, I did ok. I was lazy about studying my entire academic career.

I think if UC has found no correlation between SAT scores and kids doing well and graduation rates then they should drop that parameter, but if they are doing it for some sort of affirmative action type reason they should maybe think twice. If I remember correctly, California voted to get rid of affirmative action and quotas for college entry, is that right? Maybe it wasn’t a vote? At the time, I thought the argument was a lot of the kids being let in with lower grades and test scores weren’t doing well statistically. It was bad for the school and bad for the student. Am I completely wrong about that?

I think it’s valid for each school to determine and weigh what they take into consideration as long as data supports their decision. It can’t be based on race, religion, or any bigotry. The data should be analyzed blind to those things.

Some elite high schools and colleges are under scrutiny for too many Asians taking spots (this has been a recent hot topic in the NYC public school system) and that quotas should be put in to keep some of the Asians out to let other groups in, but the Asians are testing better. It reminds me of when “too many Jews“ were getting into Harvard and some other Ivy League schools so they wanted to change the rules.

Most children have the opportunity to study if they want to focus on academics. Yes, not all schools are equal, but I’m not so sure they are that unequal. Even if they are terribly unequal; which I think is awful, I think children have a right to an equal education no matter where they are born and raised in the US; if their circumstance makes it harder for them to accomplish the work in college then it’s valid for a college to look at that. Let’s fix the underlying problems of K-12 education and the psychological problems children deal with that hinder them from doing well in school.

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