Sunday, November 23, 2014

What's Your Number?

I'm just going to say what everyone is already thinking. Standardized tests suck. Evidently, I have a lot of issues with standardized testing, and, after taking a practice ACT this morning, it has only made me more fired up towards the entire system.

ACT and SAT scores do not represent students in an accurate way. For some people, they can study, walk in, take the test, and get a 30, (or above), without having to put forth much effort. For others, like myself, testing is much more of an ordeal. It doesn't come, I guess you could say, as naturally as I wish it did. This is my first red flag with the ACTs: just because I may not be an excellent test taker, should not mean that I am not a hard-working, intelligent individual.

The culture of the ACT and SAT encourages students to pour themselves over studying and taking  practice tests all for a number that will help determine the college you get in to. How can we say that that is who we are? As students, we are letting ourselves be confined and limited from so much more than we are capable of. The former Dean of Admissions, Bates College, William Hiss, offers his experience: "I'm trained as an ethicist, so I wasn't trying to find the perfect formula to admit students when I was dean of admissions. Rather, I was trying to say, how do we understand human intelligence? How do we understand promise?" Hiss understands and values the fact that there is so much more to a student than just some test score. He searches for students that apply themselves to learning, and who embrace their education in other ways, for example, participating in sports or playing a musical instrument.

During this stressful time of tutors and ACT/SAT crash courses, I'd like to remind people of the fact that you are still a person, not just a number.

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