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Optional SAT a good first step

The University of California freshman admissions requirements are finally taking baby steps in the right direction by not requiring the SAT subject tests as necessary for admission by many UCs.

It is great that the UCs are beginning to recognize that it is not necessary for students to take these tests.

However, the confusion that this change has added to the complicated application process prevents it from being a great victory.

In order to make the application process simpler and fairer, the UCs should entirely disregard the SAT reasoning test, only require the subject tests for application to a specific major and instead require all applicants to take the ACT.

According to UC officials, good test scores will be considered a plus, just like musical ability or involvement in clubs and bad scores will not count against applicants. However, students and counselors are confused by what this means and if applicants should still take the tests.

The reasoning behind standardized testing is understandable; these tests are supposed to be an objective means of measuring the quality of students. However, the SAT testing process is incredibly flawed and therefore cannot be relied upon as a means of measuring quality.

The ACT, which is an alternative standardized test, has been regarded by many as a more accurate representation of a student’s knowledge of the information learned in high school.

Both high school students and counselors have praised the ACT for being more well-rounded by testing in science, math, writing and English, whereas the SAT reasoning test has been criticized for being too math-intensive and negligent of the language arts.

Although switching to the ACT will not completely fix the difficult college application process, it will make the process a little easier and more cost-effective for students.

Many families dish out large amounts of money on SAT prep courses in hopes that their children will receive high scores and increase their chances of getting into college.

The fact that some students do not have the option to spend obscene amounts of money on test prep courses to increase their chances make the scores an inaccurate representation of a student’s knowledge.

The disregard of all SAT scores, except when applying to a specific major, and the use of only the ACT would help create a more accurate, standardized way of assessing a student’s skills.

While not requiring the SAT subject tests for application is a great step, the UCs need to make greater strides in creating a reasonable and fair means of evaluating applicants.

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