Should SAT scores be abolished from college admissions? No. Should their place in the admission process be reconsidered and minimized? Yes.
I once read a quote that said (more or less) “I used to be opposed to the SATs. Then, I realized we need them: the dream has to die somewhere. Reality must kick in.” I would love to agree completely, but can’t. Before I go any further, I should probably note that not only did I get a high SAT score, I then went on to a good school where I also did well. Yet, this is not enough to convince me that SAT scores are an accurate method of predicting success or determining academic aptitude.
First, the SAT is a standardized test and like all standardized tests, part of what it is measuring is your ability to take tests. A test-taker who is not used to time constraints or who is an incredible writer but only a mediocre mathematician (or vice versa) is not going to score off-the-charts in the SAT. If you’re a school with the next Einstein in your applicant pool, are you really going to care if he can use verbs in the right tense?
Secondly, anyone who accepts SAT scores as the final word on who they can be in life, probably wouldn’t make a great doctor or lawyer anyway. Not because they have low SAT scores, but because they’re willing to quit. SAT scores are supposed to be an indicator, but studies have shown that success in college is determined by countless other factors including family background, personal ethic and educational background.
Finally, the test results aren’t fair across the board. In college, I met at least a dozen fellow classmates whose rich parents had paid a psychologists to diagnose them with some sort of malady that allowed them extra time and help in the SATs. Some did have ADD or ADHD, but the majority were just exploiting a loop hole. (Like the one that takes your higher score in each subject when you take the test twice in order to give a final score. Most people who do this, can afford to pay the $43 fee per test as many times as necessary.)
For those who can’t, the first score (taken from a timed test, etc) is a reflection of where they are academically-not of where they can be.
The SATs are good indicator of educational aptitude, but they should not be the only one.