Sunday, April 09, 2006

Don't Worry, It's Only the Rest of Your Life

A lawsuit in Minnesota and another in Long Island have been filed against the company that gives the ever popular SAT. It seems that some 4,411 students out of the 500,000 who took the life-altering test in October received scores that were mistakenly lower than they deserved. On the bright side, about 600 test takers were rewarded with erroneous higher scores.

5,000 mistakes out of 500,000 tests might not seem like that much, but since colleges weigh the test so heavily in their admissions process, you can understand why the 4,411 low scores would be upset. It doesn't seem like too much to ask that, when you are forced to take a test that determines the course of four years of your life, the scoring be pretty close to perfect.

This story highlights the ridiculousness of how much emphasis is put on the SAT for getting into college. The same can be said of the GRE for graduate school, the LSAT for law school, and the multitude of other exams that supposedly separate the deserving from the undeserving. It's one test, but how you do on it sticks with you for years. Oh look over there, it's Mr. 1380 standing next to Ms. 1120.

High schools and colleges don't all use the same standard of grading, so using the standardized tests as a measure gives universities an easy way out when deciding who to accept. Still if they looked more at other factors, they'd benefit not only the applicants, but also the quality of their admitted class.

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