Keenan: The ACT Does Not Test Student’s Correctly

Joellen Keenan

Way back when I was a junior in high school, I faced the ACT’s. I faced them, along with all the other students who faced them as well. The ACT is a standardized test that has four multiple choice tests within it; there’s english, mathematics, reading, and science. There’s also a writing test as well, although I did not participate in that part.

I was nervous for the ACT’s because they are made out to be quite a big deal in the way your future after high school will play out. The higher your ACT score, the better shot at getting into the college you want. The higher your ACT score, the greater chance you’ll receive scholarships. The higher your ACT score, the more your mom can brag about her genius kid to her friends.

The ACT is supposed to test your aptitude; what you learned in high school and how you can use that in a testing situation. It is designed to test a student’s college-readiness, but how well does it actually do so?

I firmly believe the ACT is not a good measure of a student’s capabilities.

First of all, the ACT does not test you on subjects that hold an importance to the youth of this country, history and for the most part, science. I’m talking about a wider range of science that should be included, because currently the ACT’s science portion is mostly just testing how well you can read a graph.  History is not even a section in the ACT, and knowledge on the history of this world is something I believe to be incredibly important.

Along with the lack of important subject matter, the majority of standardized tests, the ACT’s included, are culturally biased. Your performance on the ACT’s can absolutely depend on countless environmental and societal differences as well. There is also something known as stereotype threat which is when somebody scores lower on a test because they are reminded of negative stereotypes regarding their group.

Along with this, the ACT does not take into account the student’s determination they might have or how much they might work toward their education. The way the ACT is set up, you really can’t study for it. You can take the prep classes and read the big books with tips, but really, you have no idea what to expect on the test. It’s for the most part  just going in blind.

Personally, that’s why I loved taking the ACT’s compared to a test for a class, because I knew there was nothing I could really do except hope that when I sit down to take it I know the answers. Now, if students were given a chance to study for this test, the results would end up much differently.

I know students who have a 4.2 GPA and spend all of their nights studying who end up getting an incredibly low score on standardized tests. This can be blamed on test anxiety  or many other different things, but no matter the cause — how is that fair to this student? How does taking that test that they can not study for  help colleges see how well students will perform in a college setting?

Because a student can be the most naturally gifted individual out there, but if there’s no determination behind him or her, there shouldn’t be much expectation along with them.

If a student works really hard to get amazing grades and be the best student they can be, they deserve the scholarships and the colleges that they earned.

The ACT doesn’t properly tests students because a student scoring high on the ACT is not always an indicator of how greatly the student will do.

The ACT doesn’t properly test students because a student scoring low on the ACT is not always an indicator that the student of how poorly a student will do.