Standardized testing is a joke


edited by Kat Steffen.

edited by Kat Steffen.

Kat Steffen, Staff Writer

Standardized testing is rigged, it is very difficult for anyone besides a wealthy white male to succeed.

That seems intense, right? I am aware that this claim sounds like it was written by some man hating 14-year -old on Tumblr who thinks that their blog will help destroy the world’s corporate misogyny, but sadly it is the truth.

On average, women get better grades in school and have higher GPAs. In 2009, the mean GPA for young women was 3.1 while the average for men was  2.9. Despite this, teenage boys have higher ACT scores than their female peers. Men on average scored a 21, while females received an average of 20.  

Why is this happening? It is simple, really. Each portion of the test is timed so one cannot take more than about 45 seconds per question. When a man comes across a question he does not know the answer to right away, he guesses and moves on so he has more time for problems he can solve, while girls are less likely to guess and move on quickly from questions they are unsure of.

“Men rush for the finish line. Woman tend to dwell too long on exploring all of the various aspects of the problem,” said clinical psychologist Dr. Susan Heitler.

The ACT does not measure intelligence; it measures test taking ability.

I personally purchased a test prep book before I took the test on Feb. 9. While it went over basic grammar rules and refreshed me on how to do geometry, it mainly focuses on test taking strategies. Let me save you $30 and share some of these strategies: (make a bulleted list)  when it comes to grammar, the simplest choice is correct, for the science section, pick one reading portion you know the least about and guess on those questions to save yourself time and if the math answers go up numerically, plug in the middle number so you will know if the correct answer is higher or lower.

Upper middle class families have many advantages in this cruel game. They can hire private tutors to prepare them (I go to Mathnasium for ACT help and it costs almost $300 a month), they can afford to take ACT classes (that teach them how to take the test, not what is on it) and wealthy kids may not have a job, which would give them more time to study.

The ACT measures wealth. It does not predict how an individual will perform in college.

Lower class families have fewer of those opportunities. Many of my peers that come from less wealthier families have many more responsibilities and obstacles than I do. I have friends whose parents are so busy working that they have to cook for and take care of their siblings. Maybe they have to share a room and their house is so full, it seems impossible to find a quiet place to study. The list of struggles could go on and on.

Colleges have ACT and SAT minimum requirements, and students that are smart but less fortunate have a harder time making those requirements. The average caucasian score is a 21, while the African American score is a 17.

There are many factors that contribute to college acceptance and scholarships, like financial need, GPA, high school involvement, whether your parent is an alumni and essays. Yet, the ACT and SAT are another burden that prevent kids from succeeding.