Standardized Testing During A Pandemic

Standardized Testing During A Pandemic

Aria Wozniak, Managing Editor

When COVID-19 hit the country, the University of California schools made standardized tests optional for students applying for admission. Other colleges and universities have since followed. They should all go another step and say they won’t consider the tests at all.


During the Coronavirus pandemic, a student’s priority should be their own safety and the safety of their loved ones. Students should not risk their health by taking a test that requires them to sit in an enclosed space with other people for hours. 


This circumstance created by the pandemic also provides an opportunity for colleges to re-evaluate requiring standardized tests.


College can again consider that the SAT and ACT measure the income and education of the student’s family. Inside Higher Ed.’s latest study shows the lowest scores came from students with less than $20,000 family income and the highest scores came from students with more than $200,000 in family income. Lower-income families cannot afford the tutors available to wealthier students. They also often attend schools that are underfunded. The SAT and ACT are meant to test how college ready a student is, but in reality the test does not accurately reflect their success. It merely demonstrates a student’s testing skills and how well they can do in a high stress environment.


Not everyone agrees that colleges should eliminate these tests and advocate making them optional. Strong SAT scores thus can aid in getting a scholarship and some students fear that not taking the SAT will hurt their chances when applying to college. Students will likely fear that failing to take the SAT or ACT will hurt their chances when applying to college compared to students who took them.


Harvard has tried to address that fear with a message to applicants: “You will not be disadvantaged in any way if you do not submit the subject tests.”


This message to applicants is an argument for eliminating the tests from any consideration and telling applicants that no one is to submit the test scores. No one should be hurt – or helped – by taking a test that is a national health risk.