National tests provide opportunity for students to shine

Story by Caleb Snow, staff writer

Countless hours of studying, college level high school courses, College Board workbooks and pamphlets; everything students are driven to do in high school outside of the regular curriculum is for one goal: college admission.

While community service, a diversified resume, and upbeat personality certainly make for a great college admissions candidate, without a proficient score on the ACT or SAT, college acceptance is not likely, placing a vast amount of emphasis on excelling at one or both of these tests.

To some, this may seem ridiculous that such acclaimed institutions of higher learning use a standardized test as a large part of what they base their acceptance off of because it burdens students with additional studying for a test that will carry little weight in the profession they may choose to pursue.

However, the value of these tests does not lie in their raw material.

These preliminary tests evaluate a student college readiness and ability to pass a college course. They test for competency.

The idea behind this is that a competent student can be a successful adult. These tests teach students how to work under pressure and deal with time constraints like they will undoubtedly have to do in their future professions. Quick decision making, strategic time management, and comprehensive analysis are really the standards used to determine college readiness, not subject matter expertise.

Learning the material and extracurricular studying are not required, nor are they necessarily necessary to succeed on the test. Additional preparation will enhance subject matter knowledge and may increase test scores to an extent, but it will not produce any of the skills listed above.

High scores reflect the development of these skills. The importance of advanced scores on the tests, and the incentive to work to raise scores higher stems from the scholarship opportunities that become increasingly available as a student’s score improves.

Scholarships that set certain grade standards for these tests to be awarded typically allocate partial of full coverage of a student’s college expenses, making earning one of them a sought after and competitive venture.

This system that incentivizes students to go above and beyond to work to achieve a better score should not be viewed as egregiously rigorous or unnecessarily extra.

Teaching our young adults that it is necessary to strive to surpass the minimum requirements is a hallmark of higher education, and an important proponent of learning to be competitive in today’s job market. No business wants to hire an employee who only does the bare minimum. They want someone who will seek to do their best all of the time in the interests of bettering the company they work for.

Without these tests, the standards of college acceptance would be drastically changed, and the overachiever attitude that makes the American economy successful would no longer be actively encouraged at a national level in education.