Standardized testing: a thing of the past?

Story by Haylieh Palma Martinez, Feature Editor

As East Meck’s seniors begin their fall semester, they are increasingly plagued by uncertainty: uncertainty over whether they’ll be able to see their friends, what difficulties virtual learning brings, and, now, how standardized test scores will impact their college applications.

Due to the rapid fulfillment of testing seats, students are left without the opportunity to take the standardized test close to home. Students across the country are facing the same challenge and have taken to various social media platforms to share their concerns. On the popular app, Tik Tok, users shared that they had to drive across state borders to take either the SAT or ACT exam. These long distance drives are a sacrifice that senior Lissa Haskell has endured as well. 

“As of now, I am taking the ACT in Kings Mountain, NC because there were not any seats available at a closer location,” Haskell said.

Although many academic institutions understand the safety precautions behind the cancellation of testing dates established months prior, some students are determined to take the exam, as they feel it will enhance their application. 

“I honestly think my application needs standardized test scores to give it an extra boost,” Haskell said. “I don’t think the tests do truly measure intelligence and I think test-optional is a good thing and will be great for a lot of people, but I am just personally a pretty good test taker so I have always planned to rely somewhat on these scores.”

Senior Isabelle Pirrone offers a different perspective. She does not think highly of the pressures put on examinees prior to and during the examinations. 

“I think that the ACT and SAT are scams,” PIrrone said. “They are both major companies that make a profit from stressing students out over a timed test. I’ve never really understood how a timed test can give you a proper evaluation of a student and their intelligence.”

After enduring the stress of rescheduling her test date on four separate occasions, Pirrone made the decision to no longer take the exam, as her top two schools had become test-optional. 

          “These standardized tests have left the class of 2021 out in the dust,” Pirrone said. “Two-thirds of the senior class this year have not been given any possible opportunity to take their test, leaving students in the dark and worried beyond belief that they won’t be able to get into their dream schools.”

In North Carolina, the UNC school system has become test-optional for 2021 after the system’s Board of Governors approved a one-year waiver for the requirement this past July. In a similar case, the University of California has suspended all usage of the SAT and ACT test scores under a preliminary injunction issued by a Superior Court Judge. 

“My thoughts with test-optional schools is that all schools should be test-optional,” Pirrone said. “I’m also very thankful for my top schools because they have become test-optional, which gives me more of a fighting chance when it comes to being accepted into college.”

Although academic institutions have been comprehensive of the obstacles faced due to the pandemic, it is uncertain whether these schools will continue to weigh applicants based on their test scores in the future. 

“If colleges are able to accept students based on their GPA and grades,” Pirrone said, “then this will prove to the world that the ACT and SAT are practically pointless when it comes to you as a student application in the college. I can only hope that by the time my six-year-old sister needs to apply to college, the ACT and SAT will become history.”