The Lancer

Editorial: More than a number

ACT, SAT, MEAP, GPA, NWEA, WorkKeys, class rank, composite score, and Smarter Balance. All of these things are assessments that are used to give students a number. And each number signifies something slightly different on the scale of testable intelligence. But the problem is that students are more than just their scores.

With the Class of 2016 over two months into their junior year, they are well acquainted with all of the test names, criteria,  and acronyms listed above.

These tests are used to assess juniors, what they know and what they’ve learned in high school. And the scores of these tests, primarily the ACT have a heavy influence over college acceptance and scholarship eligibility.

However The Lancer can’t help but wonder; Are test scores too influential in determining college acceptance?

Many colleges make their entrance requirements available online, and almost all of them list the minimum ACT score that they will accept along with GPA requirements.

But is it really fair for universities to base their admission requirements on one test and a GPA that doesn’t necessarily reflect all of the work that actually went into attaining the score?

College is supposed to provide an education that they can take with them for the rest of their lives. But getting into college is a long, tiresome and expensive process. From the start of high school there is so much pressure to perform well in classes, be a part of extracurriculars and maybe even join a sport. All this in an effort to present yourself as a well rounded student to admissions offices.

But how unfair is it to have all of your hard work go to waste when you score one point below the acceptance score to your dream school?

In reality, how can problem solving, social interaction, and communication skills be tested on paper? All of those things, among others are very important skills that cannot be accurately tested. Therefore it is unfair to for universities to base college acceptance off of one score when that score does not give any indication of how life skills are used when applied to real life scenarios.

So while a university may select a certain number of students based off of their statistical testing data, they might pass up a student that has displayed true leadership qualities outside of the classroom. And if this is the case when it comes to all selections, how is true diversity being fostered on college campuses?

All of these tests can be very stressful to juniors, especially when junior year is considered to be the most challenging academically.

The Lancer believes that colleges need to reform their acceptance policies and move towards a system where the test scores don’t mean everything when it comes to acceptance.

There is an enormous amount of stress put on students to perform well on these tests; so much so that preparing for them has taken over aspects of many English and science curriculums.

But college shouldn’t be about numbers and scores. When the first college was established in America, acceptance was not based on what number you could score on a test. But over time this is what has become of the higher education system. It is no longer about accepting well rounded students and preparing them to attain a career, its about accepting the students that have the highest achievement rates and bleeding them dry in tuition costs.

So for now, the juniors will continue to dread the upcoming standardized tests that await them in March. And the best advice The Lancer can give them is to take advantage of all the ACT prep they can get, because the test doesn’t appear to be going anywhere for a long time.

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