For our generation, standardized testing is a way of life. As college students grudgingly start thinking about the LSAT, MCAT or GRE test in their not so distant future, the SAT is probably the closest experience most students have had with high-stakes testing.
Although students have had unlimited shots at the SAT in recent years, colleges could also see the number of tests taken and all of the scores. Even though some colleges said they would consider only the highest scores, all test sessions counted.
Well, things have changed for SAT score reporting. The College Board has implemented a new program called Score Choice, which allows students to report only the best score achieved while hiding any other scores they may have earned.
Score Choice is going to have consequences more severe than drawing ire from past SAT takers who did not have the same option. If the University decides to accept scores from students who have used Score Choice, it could end up with a lazier freshman class.
Score Choice gives prospective students the notion that if at first they don’t succeed, they can try and try again until they get what they were after and erase all past blemishes. If only this were true.
In college, there are no re-dos. You can’t retake a final exam that you earned a D on. That is the grade you got, and that is the grade that will be on your transcript for law schools and graduate schools to see. Speaking of which, law schools raise an eyebrow if you take the LSATs more than once – no Score Choice there.
While the admissions department has yet to comment on how it will respond to this new policy, GW should follow in the footsteps of other schools like the University of Southern California and Stanford University by not accepting Score Choice.
The reasoning behind Score Choice is that it will supposedly diffuse some of the pressure that high school seniors face when applying to colleges. Although Score Choice appears to make a student look better, on second glance it does no such thing. It looks like the student is trying to hide scores that wouldn’t get them into their school of choice.
In reality, the program hurts students more than it helps them. Not only does it give them false expectations about future exams, but it also might harm them if a university calculates SAT scores by taking the highest combination of math, verbal and writing scores, regardless of whether or not they were in the same sitting. With Score Choice, a student can only choose the best score from a single sitting.
GW needs to see that Score Choice has the potential to hurt prospective students and future incoming classes. Students need to learn that exams are final and binding, not something that can be redone until one is satisfied. Your score on the test is the score you deserved – no excuses. The University needs to ensure they send this message clearly to future Colonials. By allowing prospective students to choose Score Choice, they are doing just the opposite.
The writer, a freshman majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.
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