Rogerian Argument: are the SATs Outdated?

It is a little known fact that the tax bracket one’s family falls under can give an idea of what ones SAT score would be, which has some saying that it is biased to the more fortunate. The latter half of a students high school experience is a very stressful time, not only have to juggle numerous after school activities, college tours and applications, but also have to cope with the stress of standardized testing such as the SATs. Some of those stress factors, such as the SATs, are seen outdated and unfair to some students and either need to be wiped away completely or changed drastically in the opposers opinions. The fact of the matter is the seemingly never ending debate on whether the SATs are outdated and or unfair, and the question everyone wants to know the answer to is if they should still even be in use. Are the SATs an accurate representation of intellect, or are they an outdated biased way for colleges to be selective?

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Many feel that the SATs are an accurate representation of intelligence, and give a valuable indicator of a students potential, and college success. Jeffery Penn, a reporter for the New York Academy of Sciences, says “the standardized college admissions test continues to be a reliable predictor of college success. In addition, for some subjects, SAT scores are statistically more consistent predictors of college freshman grades than high school grades”(Penn). What Penn, an advocate for standardized testing is stating is that there is a well founded correlation of college grades and SAT scores, which is a more accurate correlation than that of college grades and high school grades. Jack Buckley, the former commissioner for the national center for education statistics describes these tests as a “neutral yardstick for measuring student potential and performance” (Buckley). One, like Buckley, might say that the SAT score in many cases mirrors first year college performance, and is a valuable tool for colleges to be sure they are getting a spot filled with a valuable scholar. Furthermore, Gaston Caperton, a former governor, and the president of the College Board, states that “SATs Help Colleges Make Smarter Admissions Calls,”(Caperton). When students are equally as impressive with their GPAs and such, colleges have no other tools but the SAT scores to determine college preparedness, making it an important step in the application process. Overall many feel as if the SATs should be here to stay, because they have an important role in maintaining a level playing field, and are a reliable source on finding out important characteristics of students.

While many question the validity of the SATs, and feel it is an obsolete tool, It does seem to be helpful in some aspects of the application process, and has been for 93 years. The colleges have every right to put tough decisions in the hands of the college boards exam because it is very difficult to decide on students who are head to head with activities and grades. The admissions team of many schools believe that it is a key indicator of college readiness, and how students handle stress independently and have the statistics to prove it as well. Therefore the test is seen as the most valuable and reliable tool for those selective schools.

Contrary to the beliefs previously discussed, many professionals, parents, and scholars believe that the SATs are not a reliable indicator of college readiness and intellect. First, many believe these tests tend to favor the fortunate, and turn a blind eye to those of whom are poverty stricken. Cooper Aspegren, a news editor for the oracle, says “socioeconomically disadvantaged test-takers simply cannot afford the benefits of SAT preparation services in the form of private tutors or classes that cost thousands of dollars.”(Aspegren). When the test rolls around, these students are already at a disadvantage before entering the test room. Another reason for people feeling the SATs are obsolete is the fact that it lacks a very important skill set within the actual test, that colleges actually value. The test undisputedly lacks “outside the box thinking” which is a trait colleges seek for enrollment. Randon Busteed, the executive director of Gallup education specifically states that “the biggest problem with standardized testing is that it seeks standardized answers. We’re not just overinvesting in standardized testing, we’re actually testing standardization”(Busteed). With that being said, the SATs are designed for students to have the same or similar answers. While it is important for there to be a test in place that tests this type of intellect, it is apparent we are missing many other forms of intelligence and competencies. Bad test takers are often those who think outside the box, and find other ways to figure something out. The true claim people like Aspegren are stating, is that the problem solvers are at a disadvantage.

One who disputes the fact that the SATs are outdated can not dispute some of the facts. Those who can’t afford the test tutoring tend to do worse on their scores than those who can afford the very expensive tutoring, and there is data to prove it. Also, the SATs lack all but standardized intelligence, which is undeniably an important trait but the many others can not be forgotten about. As of right now the SATs have some good qualities, but lack fairness and inclusiveness which makes the test not as great as it could/should be.

As of now, the SATs are an unfair test and are not a valid way to measure intelligence. It is reasonable to measure intelligence in a test, but not just standardized intelligence. While it is unlikely that the SATs will be disregarded, the more ideal option would be to fix the test, starting with cost. The college board should offer free tutoring for the test, and financial aid for those who normally wouldn’t be able to afford the test. The test should also mix in some outside the box thinking options for those who are creative. The SATs should place higher emphasis on parts that make students stand out as individuals. If the college board were to alter the test, it would be looked at as more of an opportunity for all, rather than a setback for some. With that being said, the test is not too far gone, and should be fixed because it decides the fate of many, so it should at least be fair.

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Rogerian Argument: Are The SATs Outdated?. (2019, Feb 20). Retrieved January 29, 2023 , from

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