Lowering Standardized Tests Will Hurt Students Not Help Them

The Chicago Tribune reported on proposed legislation in Illinois that will allow admission to four-year public universities for students who chose not to report their ACT or SAT scores. You can view the entire article here. This legislation, entitled the Higher Education Fair Admissions Act, is yet another attempt to force equity and fairness. However, it is just this type of policy that is actually hurting those who they purport to help.

The proponents of this legislation argue that many students have test anxiety and only the privileged are able to hire tutors and take the test multiple times to achieve the best possible score. They argue that all students deserve a chance to have the college experience regardless of race or wealth. They argue that the tests are culturally biased and that to ensure “equity” we need to do away with any and all objective measures of aptitude,

While this type of legislation may on the surface seem to promote equity by admitting more students into public four-year universities, those who post a low SAT or ACT are typically not academically prepared for the demands of college and subsequently will drop out within the first year. College dropouts then find themselves with no degree, plenty of student debt and not many options in the workforce other than low paying jobs.

Researchers from Education.data.org  (a fact based nonpartisan group) report that 28% of students drop out of college due to what they characterize as “academic disqualification” and many are “unprepared for the level of rigor of college studies.”  This organization also reports that many students who are admitted need to take remedial courses in basic subjects like math and English before actually beginning to amass any college credits. This remedial work creates delays in graduation (think the 5 or 6 year plan) and increased tuition costs for students and families.  Law makers and universities who try to do away with rigorous academic standards while accepting lower performing students are them a huge disservice. They are putting these young people into situations where they are destined to fail.

Another argument for the dissolution of standardized acceptance tests is that impoverished people cannot afford the costs of taking the test and the needed test preparation to post a good score. This is not true as the The College Board (the administrator of the SAT) and The ACT already offer free exams for students who are in low income brackets or on public assistance. SAT and ACT also have a myriad of test prep materials that are free of charge for students in need. In addition, many public-school districts offer these exams during the school day and there is no charge to students or families. 

Instead of moving the goal posts for college acceptance, why don’t policy makers, educators and teachers’ unions guarantee that students who receive a high school diploma are actually able to read, write, and quantitatively think? If this happened, the college acceptance score would be a moot point as all students awarded a high school diploma would be able to demonstrate an adequate level of proficiency on the SAT and ACT proving that they were able to handle the academic demands of college coursework. It appears those in charge are taking the easier route by simply lowering the standards for college admittance. This creates a situation where a college degree is becoming irrelevant – nothing more than high school 2.0.  Ironically as the value of a bachelor’s degree decreases in the workforce, the debt incurred by students is growing exponentially. This arrangement seems to work for those in the educational field. K-12 educators don’t have to do the hard work of actually teaching kids and there are always plenty of dollars flowing into colleges and universities.

Parents of high school students need to take a hard look at the realities of college tuition and the academic potential of their child. In an attempt to elevate their own status, high school administrators and counselors place much pressure on teens to apply for and be accepted at the best colleges and universities. But college is not for everyone. Trade schools offer young people a great alternative with substantially less student debt and the likelihood of a good paying job on the other side.  Welders, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and aircraft mechanics are in high demand right now and these professions provide a good living wage. There is dignity in working with your hands and too often the educational elite have looked down upon blue collar positions.

It’s well past time that we take a critical look at the value of a college degree. Higher education continues to accept young people who will never finish.  Other students are pushed into worthless degrees at an inordinate cost. These Marxist intuitions are truly indoctrination centers brainwashing our young into values that are Christophobic and secular in nature. Consider the alternatives if you have a high school aged child.

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