The Flaw in the System

If no two brains are alike then why do we use standardized tests to assess all children the same way? It makes no sense. Methods that work for some will surely not work for others. While some children will be categorized as intelligent, others will be seen as stupid.AG20001.jpg

Of the 1.7 million students who took the SAT in 2013, only 700,000 of them met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark (1).Universities see SAT scores as an equalizer with a student’s GPA. So for the 1 million who were below that benchmark in 2013, it can be assumed that they would have an exceedingly harder time being accepted into a university, even if they had a high GPA. This is because universities would assume that, because the student’s SAT score was below standard, the GPA received was a result of being given “easy A’s,” and therefore, is not a true reflection of the student’s intelligence.

The immense pressure students receive from their peers, parents, and society to perform well in these exams and benchmarks is one reason why students continue to take them. They are pinned against their peers and watched over intensely by their parents, many of which still believe that numbers and grades are what makes their child intelligent. In society, if a student does not do well in school, it is implied that they will not do well in life either. This stigma is something that only goes away with time, but how many students falling through the cracks of the education system is it going to take for reform to take place? How long will we continue to praise the students who do well but treat all of the rest as though they are stupid?

Standardized tests only show that a person has fit the mold of the education system that only seeks one type of student: the type A personalities with superior memories and the ability to recite a textbook front to back. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with being a robot, it is just impractical to think that all students will have these same characteristics. What the world needs is innovation-- people who think outside the box, or in this case, some bubbles on a score sheet.

What should really be seen in students is their character, and their desire to learn. The University of California removed SAT subject tests as a requirement for admission in 2012, which indicates a step in the right direction (1). But by the looks of it, students will continue taking these standardized test and will continue to base their intelligence on a number. Of course, only time will make people understand that students are individually brilliant, and examining all of them on the same spectrum is unrealistic. Albert Einstein, one out of many students who did not fit the mold of the education system which has not changed since his own time, once said, “everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

1: Luschei, Savannah. "Report Indicates Only 43 Percent of SAT Takers in Class of 2013 Ready for College." The Daily Californian. The Independent Berkeley Student Publishing Co., 30 Sept. 2013. Web. 04 Mar. 2017.