The End of Standardized Tests?

By Frank Cannistra

Ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic have truly made their mark on every part of society, the world of education has not found itself excluded from that. 

Due to the fact that gathering large groups for events, like school-wide testing, has become increasingly difficult, many universities have decided to make their admission procedures “test-optional”. Rather than judging potential students on SAT and ACT scores, students are allowed to provide their overall GPA instead. 

According to recent studies, 65% of four-year universities have adopted the test-optional strategy, but almost all of them have only decided to do so temporarily. The University of Tampa, for example, will only be using this format until Spring 2023. Other universities have only announced that this format will be used for the 2021-2022 admissions period. 

While it’s understandable that universities would only commit to this arrangement for the near future, the change in format has gotten people thinking if this is perhaps a better way to operate admissions even after the pandemic. 

On the surface, there’s a lot to like about this setup for students. The thought that the next four years and potentially your entire future can come down to one exam has put an absurd amount of stress on students in the past. Being judged on your entire GPA rather than just one day would seem to make a lot more sense when schools evaluate potential applicants. 

It also could potentially make it easier for some students to be accepted into college. While that seems like a good thing on the surface, this could prove to be a double-edged sword in certain ways. 

While it’s not been proven that this adjusted admissions process is the culprit of this issue, UT notoriously accepted too many incoming freshmen for Fall 2021. Accepting as many students as possible is great, but this absurd amount of new students has led to both a housing crisis and a parking crisis that the university was not prepared to deal with properly. 

This also brings up the question, if this new admissions style is put into effect full-time, should students still be given the option to submit either the SAT or ACT rather than GPA, or should every student have to be judged on cumulative GPA. 

I feel that, while it may be best for the students to have several options for what they present to universities during the admissions process, it is ultimately only fair if all students are judged the same way, on the same variables. As far as which of these options universities choose in the future, I feel that GPA just makes all the more sense. 

Placing students’ futures on one singular test is nowhere near as helpful as seeing a full GPA, which paints a much more complete picture of the applicants in question and the university will almost certainly benefit from that. Universities should review only a student’s cumulative GPA rather than SAT or ACT scores, and every student should have to be reviewed by the admissions department in that exact way.

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