Standardized Testing as a Measure of Wealth


Michel Ruiz Fuentes, Editor

Why is standardized testing considered in the college application process?  It’s a method to measure college readiness. However, I believe that using standardized testing as a prevalent factor of the college application is a disadvantage for underserved youths. As a Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholar, my educational advisor funded my ACT classes. In addition to this, I received a waiver to pay for the multiple times I took the ACT exam. I am fortunate because I had the resources that made the standardized testing process costless for my family that would otherwise struggle to pay; however, I am one of very few assisted.

There are many ways to study for the SAT/ACT, such as preparation books, online videos, and classes. There are feasible options for low costs, yet underserved youths endure other conflicts from socio-economic inequality that negatively affects their test performance. Low-income families cannot focus on preparing their children for this one test if they have other problems that their kid needs to contribute to. Some families expect their children to work and contribute financially. Students who work part-time have rigid life schedules of focusing on their studies and then work. There is limited time to study for this single high-stakes assessment. Under-resourced students have limited resources for testing. They will struggle to find time and support for the ACT/SAT, an assessment some schools use to measure their applicant’s readiness.

Standardized testing is not an accurate depiction of you as a student. Study hard, find free resources, and communicate with the mentors around you about the test. There are free resources from nonprofits and success stories of students that persisted and scored high. 

Standardized testing mimics how some college exams may have significant value, the Bar Exam, that determine career paths; however, there should be more equitable resources that serve low-income families to prepare for the test. Remember that your test score is just one aspect of your application and that many schools have become test-optional.