Overemphasis on SAT, ACT harmful to students

Almost everyone at Guilford has been through the dreadful process of filling out applications for college.

Nearly every student has taken the SAT or ACT. They’re the standardized tests that most people dread ­— this one test could be the make-or-break for your dream school.

All that pressure builds up on students.

“My sense is that in some places there is a great deal of pressure on high school students … to go to the most prestigious colleges,” said Richie Zweigenhaft, Charles A. Dana professor of psychology.

Standardized testing does not measure the education level of students. There are tons of students who do not do well on tests — this does not mean that they don’t understand the material.

The tests put too much pressure on students

“Intensive standardized testing not only causes stress in students, but may undermine learning,” wrote Daniel Edelstein in an article for Brain Connection. “Stress is the body’s general response to any intense physical, emotional or mental demand placed on it.”

Stress undermines learning because it affects the way one thinks. Tests stress some people out in a harmful way, and what happens when stressed out students take tests? Normally not good results.

So why make tests the make or break for a college admission?  Not everybody responds to testing the same.

Some students have issues putting the material on paper or they have test anxiety.

I am one of those students. I can study a text for three hours but just can’t put it all on paper. It’s tough.

This doesn’t mean I don’t know the material or I’m not educated on the information.

I know I am not the only one. Many people have test-taking anxiety or have stress during or before a standardized test. Approximately 20 percent of students have test anxiety and another 18 percent may have a moderate form of the condition according to the American Test Anxiety Association.

I can see why some believe the other side of the argument, that there is not too much pressure on standardize testing.

If students cannot pass a specific test, they think, then how could they thrive in a difficult school, let alone graduate from college?

To me that just doesn’t make sense. So much more should be considered regarding the opportunity of admission into a specific school other than just a standardized test. I think colleges should look more at a student’s GPA and their college essays instead of the standardized tests they take.

Now I am not saying they shouldn’t look at tests all, but tests shouldn’t have as big of an impact as someone’s GPA and essays.

Something that separates Guilford College from other schools is that it does not require standardized test scores on its application. Admissions looks more in depth through the whole process than on how somebody did on one test. And I think this is a fair representation of how most of college admission processes should be.

I do think the most prestigious universities such as Ivy League schools should consider the testing of students a little more than other schools. Testing matters for those schools simply due to the fact these are the most prestigious schools in the nation and they should be more challenging to get into.

All students are different, but in the end a standardized test should not make or break a student.