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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Ask Bobby #12
September 25, 2023

Is It Time to Do Away With Standardized Testing in Higher Education?

Standardized testing is synonymous to modern education

Standardized testing can best be likened to trying to put a square peg through a round hole. Those who create the tests appear to be operating under the false assumption that all students who take the exam come from similar backgrounds, and therefore form an even playing field when it comes to competing country for limited seats at prestigious universities. It truly is astonishing how the executives at the College Board could be operating with such an illogical train of thought.

When it comes to applying for the majority of graduate or undergraduate programs in the United States, one of the most dreaded parts of the process is the need to complete and submit the results of standardized tests. Those applying for graduate education have to take what are commonly known as the GREs (Graduate Record Examinations) in order to prove their ability to complete graduate coursework successfully.

Students who are applying for undergraduate education can either take the ACTs (American College Tests) or the SATs (Scholastic Aptitude Tests) to show that they are ready to do college-level work. Those who apply to American universities as international students and are not native speakers of the English language will need to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) in order to prove their proficiency in the English language.

Each of these exams costs a substantial amount of money to take, and the “nonprofit” corporations such as the College Board and the Educational Testing Service that produce the exams like to market their tests as the key indicators to determine whether or not prospective students have the intellectual capacity to succeed in college classrooms.

However, in recent years there has an been an increase in the number of universities that no longer use standardized testing in their application process. These universities believe that the students’ scores on the exams do not aid admissions departments when it comes to identifying the students who would be a good fit at their institutions. This has led some to reconsider the purpose of standardized testing in regards to admission into graduate and undergraduate programs, as well as questioning what universities should really be looking for in an applicant.

It doesn’t take a perfect score on the SATs to realize that not everyone shares the same opportunities to pursue higher education in the United States. Universities need to come up with a fairer and more inclusive way of considering students that apply to their programs. However, given the coincidental rise of neoliberalism during the past last three decades that has led to the ongoing privatization of America’s universities, it appears highly unlikely that standardized testing will be going away anytime soon.

The best one can hope for would be that admissions directors adopt a more progressive mindset when it comes to evaluating prospective students, and look beyond the test scores by asking questions that speak to who the applicants are as individuals. Only then can universities and colleges even begin the process of being accessible to students from all walks of life.