Are Standardized Tests Necessary for College Acceptance?

Hammond Quote

Standardized Tests; nobody likes them but we (and by “we” I of course mean they, them, the powers that be) can’t seem to get enough of them.  We’re addicted to them.  From elementary school on we’re teaching kids how to become expert test takers, a skill that becomes nearly useless the minute they leave the school. 

I’m an optimist though, so I’m going to assume most people are smart enough to realize that tests like the SAT and ACT only measure a tiny fraction of what is gained through an education. These tests show a very narrow view of the student. They fall tragically short of how the real world measures success. Real life solutions are not presented with options A, B, C, or D.  Outside of the classroom, critical thinking is king, multiple choice answers simply don’t exist.

Are the SAT and ACT Really Necessary?

Despite all the gloom surrounding standardized tests I’m holding out hope. I recently read this article about the SAT and ACT. Personally, I like the idea of not judging a student based on their 4 hour performance on a Saturday morning. Hard work, creativity, problem solving, commitment, ingenuity, these are the things that can make great students, but get lost on standardized tests.

As of now, you still need to take them, but maybe someday we’ll move past all that. There are currently around 800 colleges that leave the SAT and ACT test submission as optional. Those colleges want more than a standardized test scores to determine what kind of student you are. Results of a recent study showed that students who did not submit SAT and ACT test results to colleges performed just as well as those who did.


Imagine a world where you actually had to be creative and find new ways to demonstrate your abilities to gain acceptance into college. Maybe instead of SAT scores you could show the admission team a successful business you started. Maybe instead of ACT scores you could show them a portfolio of web based projects you’ve worked on. Or perhaps an engineering student could show a construction project he or she designed and completed. Maybe instead of a score on one test you show them a pattern of hard work and commitment to your intended major.

Just a thought.

What do you think? What experiences have you had with these types of tests? How do you think a person should be judged for acceptance into a college program?

Share your thoughts.

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5 thoughts on “Are Standardized Tests Necessary for College Acceptance?

  1. ies2400 says:

    Hello, fantastic post! What are your thoughts on the redesign for the New SAT? Do you think the changes will be beneficial to the students? Have a lovely day!

    • Well to be honest I know very little of the proposed changes to the SAT, except what has been posted on the College Board website. However, from what I learned at an educational conference I was at last week it sounds like it will actually be getting easier.

      I’m most interested in the changes to the scoring of the SAT and to the proposed elimination of point deductions for wrong answers. Taking away deductions for wrong answers seems like a pretty big shift in the direction of the ACT. From what I hear that might be one of their unofficial goals. I also like the increased time allotted for the essay section, which apparently is going to become optional. I’ll be writing a post about the proposed SAT changes in the not so distant future.

      Also, I love your site. It is very insightful and informative. You’ve got me following.

      Thanks so much for reading.

      • ies2400 says:

        Hey Jered, which educational conference? Thank you so much for following the ies2400 blog. I look forward to reading your insight on the SAT changes!

  2. It was the Midwest Homeschool Convention. It’s a fabulous convention and very affordable. If you ever get the chance to go, you should. Most of the sessions I went to were centered on topics that are relevant even if you aren’t in the home school world.

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