The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

Distinguished Sites Banner
SUPPORT US
$725
$750
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of West Chicago Community High School. Your contribution will help us cover our annual website hosting costs. We appreciate your support!

INSTAGRAM FEED

[OPINION] The SAT has become obsolete

A quick look into the test, and its racist history.
The+SAT+is+perhaps+trying+to+become+more+relevant+by+switching+from+paper+to+computer%2C+but+one+has+to+question+whether+the+test+is+necessary+at+all.
Photo by Karidja Monjolo
The SAT is perhaps trying to become more relevant by switching from paper to computer, but one has to question whether the test is necessary at all.

Managing Editor Karidja Monjolo is a three-year member of the Wildcat Chronicle who frequently writes opinion pieces. The views expressed in this piece are her own.

On April 18, juniors in West Chicago Community High School will gear up to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT, a test first established in the 1920s.  But, over the past few years, standardized test scores have had less of an impact on the college admissions process; as colleges move away from the test, so should high schools. 

In 2020, more than 600 colleges did not require students to submit their scores, and a dozen of schools refused to even take the scores at all. The change did not come as a huge surprise, as before the pandemic more than 1,000 schools had already gone test optional.

Only eight states out of the 50 – the lowest number since the test was first established in 1920 – still require the SAT as a graduation requirement. This number is a clear indication that the rest of the United States is moving away from standardized testing, and so Illinois should follow suit.

Perhaps other states were turned off by the socioeconomic racial disparities – or the racist history – involving the test. According to the National Education Association (NEA), “Decades of research demonstrate that Black, Latin(o/a/x), and Native students, as well as students from some Asian groups, experience bias from standardized tests administered from early childhood through college.”

The research suggests that “the average white student’s SAT math score was 106 points higher than the average Black student’s (533 compared to 427); by 2020, the gap narrowed to 93 points. Still, nearly a third (31%) of white test takers scored above 600 on the math portion of the SAT, compared to just 7% of Black test takers.”

Rather than blaming the test itself, some say the test takers are to blame.

“We still think there’s something wrong with the kids rather than recognizing their something wrong with the tests. Standardized tests have become the most effective racist weapon ever devised to objectively degrade Black and Brown minds and legally exclude their bodies from prestigious schools,” Ibram X. Kendi of the Antiracist Research & Policy Center at Boston University and author of “How to be an Antiracistsaid.

However, some suggest that the test itself is not racist: America is.

“It’s true that blacks and Hispanics on average score below whites and Asians on the SAT, but to claim the test is discriminatory is to ignore a host of other factors that are far more likely culprits. We know that study habits, as well as time spent reading books versus watching television, vary significantly among different racial and ethnic groups. We also know that black and Hispanic youths are far more likely to attend chronically failing elementary and secondary schools,” Jason L. Riley of The Wall Street Journal wrote.

A timeline of the SAT's and brief look into it's past (Created by Karidja Monjolo using Canva)
A timeline of the SAT’s and a brief look into it’s past. (Infographic created by Karidja Monjolo using Canva)

SAT creator Carl Bingham worked on the IQ test that was administered in World War I, and later wrote a book on his findings titled “A Study of American Intelligence.” He concluded that American education was on the decline, and would “proceed with an accelerating rate as the racial mixture becomes more and more extensive.”

Bingham went on to design the standardized test that all juniors are about to become very familiar with.

The SAT does not accurately measure intelligence or academic ability, and it was never designed to. The first Scholastic Aptitude Test ever administered to students in 1926 was designed to measure a participant’s “innate ability,” or an ability that one is born with.       

When an number of colleges moved away from requiring the SAT, and became test optional, students understood they might not need to take a standardized assessment at all: students who already know the school they will be applying to is test optional could care less about the score they receive on the test. 

And while the situation is subject to change, as of early 2024, most colleges do not seem to be reverting back to requiring students to submit their scores. Currently, only four elite schools are requiring the test: Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, and MIT. Yale only declared they would implement that measure a few months ago.

“[Standardized scores] can be especially helpful in identifying students from less-resourced backgrounds who would succeed at Dartmouth, but might otherwise be missed in a test-optional environment,” Sian Leah Beilock, Dartmouth’s President, said. 

Her statement comes as a shock because every year, more information comes out suggesting standardized tests do not measure a student’s abilities. However, one point on which other studies do agree with Beilock’s comments: a student’s test score is largely proportional with family income. 

It is important to note that College Board has taken strides to combat the injustices with the SAT. This year, the test will go digital, and will be more adaptive to knowledge students already know. Internationally, the test went digital last year. but American students have yet to experience the online version. One can only hope that this method makes great strides into closing the socioeconomic, and perhaps, in turn, racial, gaps that affect a student’s test scores. 

The SAT does not benefit, nor has it ever benefited low income students, primarily because it was not designed to; yet, an increasing number of colleges have decided to go test optional, with no signs of stopping. Therefore, the SAT is becoming obsolete, and inconsequential to the college admissions process. Taking the test should not be required for students in Illinois, and test scores should not be largely considered in the college admissions process because they do not accurately measure knowledge, or comprehension.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Wildcat Chronicle
$725
$750
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of West Chicago Community High School. Your contribution will help us cover our annual website hosting costs. We appreciate your support!

About the Contributor
Karidja Monjolo
Karidja Monjolo, Managing Editor
Karidja Monjolo is a senior, and this is her third year on the Wildcat Chronicle. She participates in WeGo Drama, Speech Team, Roar, and more! Her hobbies include reading, writing, and listening to music. In the future Karidja would like to pursue a career in Broadcast Journalism.
Donate to Wildcat Chronicle
$725
$750
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

Any comment made will go through the Wildcat Chronicle to be approved. Obscene, suggestive, vulgar, profane, threatening, disrespectful, defamatory language will not be published. Attacks made towards race, gender, sexual orientation, or creed will not be tolerated. Comments should be relevant to the article or the writer; please respect the author and the other commenters. Comments must be 300 words or less. All comments are the property of the Wildcat Chronicle after being submitted. In order to submit a comment, a valid e-mail address must be used, and the email must be verified. Impersonating another person’s name is prohibited.
All Wildcat Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *