Putting The Test to Test

This past Saturday, a number of Seniors and Uppers took the SAT’s. It is no doubt that many experienced extreme pressure, as this test could be the deciding factor in their admission to college. As if that wasn’t enough, the SAT could be a deciding factor in their job placement as well. Over recent years, a new trend has swept the job market. With so many qualified applicants and so few jobs, employers are eager to find possible ways to differentiate between candidates. Now, SAT scores have been added to the list of many businesses’ applications requirements. Although the exact score requirement varies among businesses and industries, most agree in wishing to find those above the national average. Yet according to the College Board, the company that administers the SAT, those who took the SAT in 2003 averaged a math score higher than it has been in 35 years. Therefore, it is unreasonable to compare the higher averages of today with lower averages of past decades. Also, scores have been inflated over recent decades, thus increasing the averages today and devaluing those of the past. Furthermore, an SAT taken during one’s high school years is not a legitimate measurement of one’s capability to succeed at an occupation. The SAT does not take into account knowledge acquired in college, the place where most people who are not fortunate enough to attend a decent high school obtain their real educations. SAT scores as a requirement favor us, students attending prep schools, and puts public high school graduates (known to have a lower average than prep school graduates) at a disadvantage. It is at college where the playing field is more or less leveled, where those never before given great learning opportunities now find themselves immersed in them. Therefore one’s performance in college should, as tradition has it, be the main focus of a job application. One’s high school education should have nothing to do with it. Donna Chan, 23, in her search for a financial services job with an SAT score “somewhere in the 1200’s,” laments about the SAT requirement in a Wall Street Journal Article last Tuesday: “I think it’s asking a bit much. That’s something high school kids have to worry about. After four years of working hard, I think you’ve paid your dues, and unless you’re applying to Princeton Review or some math-related, analytical job, I don’t see the relevance.” If employers want a test that will reveal the applicant’s raw intelligence, why not ask for an IQ score? The IQ test is a much better measure of innate ability than the SAT. Furthermore, it is less age-sensitive and less affected by one’s education (mainly college) than the SAT. Although requiring an IQ test does obviously present more complications (as not all college graduates have taken it, and it costs money), using the SAT as the alternative to measure the intelligence of those years after they have taken it does more harm than good.