Meet Abigail Jones. A seventeen year old high school junior, Abigail, is the oldest of three children in her family. She has a 3.73 GPA, plays first violin in the orchestra, and is on pace to get four varsity letters in athletics. Volunteering weekly with underprivileged kids, she hopes to go on to a prestigious northeastern liberal arts college after high school. For Abigail, achieving her goal of admittance to the school of her choice may very well depend on how she does on one test, on one Saturday: The SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test. If she scores poorly on that one SAT, instead of seeing Abigail as great material for their next incoming class, college admissions’ committees may wonder to each other whether or not she has what it takes to compete. Sure, Abigail may seem like an extremely bright, well rounded kid who has great activities and contributes to her community, but it is entirely possible that despite everything she has accomplished, everything that makes her special, Abigail Jones may be denied admittance to the university of her dreams all because of a poor score on one standardized test.Abigail is just one of many examples of how standardized testing fails students and colleges. Standardized testing dates back to 1845, when they were created at Boston Public school system (Sternberg). Historically, they were used to see how much of the curriculum was learned. They have been around for a very long time, but there are many studies that show that it is not an indicator of academic success. Since then, it has become the most predominant way to evaluate student’s academic achievement. All test takers are required to answer a certain amount of inquiries. With multiple choice questions, which hinder out-of-the-box thinking or abstract creativity, students cannot show their understanding of the world, or even form their own opinions. Instead, they must memorize tedious steps for choosing the correct multiple choice answer in a four hour test. Even students who excel academically in school do not score well on standardized tests. “Sometimes, the most brilliant and intelligent minds do not shine in standardized tests because they do not have standardized minds” (Ravitch). Standardized tests are not reliable predictors of academic success. In 1903, there was a fable written in the Illinois newspaper called the “Jungle School Board” which consisted of multiple animals: a kangaroo, a monkey, and an elephant. The animals all discussed skills to be taught in school. The monkey suggested that the students should be taught to climb trees. The kangaroo and elephant disagreed, as the kangaroo demanded they be taught to jump up and down. The elephant felt that they should be taught to look wise. All three animals were getting mad at eachother, since they could not agree upon what to teach the student animals. It is wrong to judge an animal (or person for that matter) by a skill they cannot hereditarily poses. In education, this allegory has been used for over one hundred years. There has been a debate in education about the absurdity of using a single measure to assess the achievement of students. Students cannot be assigned a numerical value to justify their intellectual capabilities. Standardized testing does not adequately measure student intelligence.Standardized tests are used to compare individuals performance in a relative manner. They only evaluate the proficiency of students at the time of the test. The SAT and ACT are two types of standardized tests that are used to measure the likely success of students in college academics. Not only do most colleges use SAT or ACT scores to help them make admissions decisions, they also impact scholarship opportunities. The higher one scores on either of these, the more merit money for college tuition one is likely to receive. Federal funds are only given to students who do well on them (Rusk). This adds extra pressure on schools to constantly evaluate their performance, leading to unhealthy amounts of competition between schools. A person’s intelligence cannot be measured only by multiple choice questions. The ACT also covers reading, writing, and math, but it has a science section. The free response sections in the SAT and ACT give students a chance to express their understanding of the material. Multiple-choice tests are “clearly limited in the kinds of achievement they can measure” (McDermott). Cultural factors, testing anxiety, unfamiliarity with material and illness can all affect how a student will score on their test. Another issue when it comes to standardized testing is validity. Without the financial wherewithal to hire tutors and go to prep clinics, people in lower socioeconomic situations are often at a disadvantage when it comes to standardized testing performance. A study was conducted on the correlation of income and standardized test scores. A significant piece of the study was, “on average, students in 2014 in every income bracket outscored students in a lower bracket on every section of the test” (Lamarche-Bisson). If you are sick during the test, there is no valid documentation of this. The test does not take into account these external factors for students. There are certainly many measures that should go into account when looking at a student to admit to a college such as their grades in school.Standardized tests not only create a lot of stress from students but educators as well. Not only do standardized test create a lot of stress for students, but educators. The teachers feel an immense pressure to teach the test, rather than meaningful material in school. On the other hand, there are some benefits when it comes to standardized testing. For example, standardized testing helps to pinpoint areas where improvement is needed in the classroom. “The scores of the tests can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the education provided for students” (Henningfeld). While the results are used to assess student performance, it also helps schools measure the effectiveness of their curriculum. Students can be compared across the country with other students easily, as it is a very analytical process. The testing company is comparing the scores of the students in their school with the scores of students across the country in order to get a sense of how effective they are at delivering the curriculum. In addition, standardized testing is very structured because these tests are accompanied by a set of established standards to guide classroom instruction for students. This creates a benchmark over time to measure student progression. Even though standardized testing allows schools to improve their curriculum, they can be extremely biased. Some examples of biased standardized tests are the SAT and the ACT. Instead of requiring knowledge, these tests require ability and test taking skills. Also, these tests are biased against location because if someone is from a town with a mediocre school system, they are more likely to score poorly on the test because they received an insufficient education. The test is given to everyone, but not everyone is given the same study preparations nor does everyone have the same amount of knowledge and education. This is an issue because this is what the test itself is trying to measure. If you go to a better school, you will receive a better education and do better on the standardized tests, but some people do not have the means to live in a town with a great school system. Or maybe they lack the wealth to hire private tutors or send their children to prep clinics. Making a judgement off one test is a very biased way of admitting students to a college or university. Income has a lot to do with standardized testing as well. Income highly affects standardized test scores. Each test costs one hundred dollars to take, and most students need to take them at least two or three times, not including all of the extra resources needed to prep for them. This can be a stretch for many families; Some families in America do not even have enough money to let their children take the test. Wealthier families certainly have the means to financially support their children when preparing for the standardized tests. For instance, they are able to hire private tutors, send them to prep classes, have them take practice tests, buy expensive practice books, and many other ways of studying. Lower income families may not be able to do these things. However, all of these factors should not be an indicator of academic success. As described by Michelle Obama, “If my future were determined just by my performance on a standardized test, I wouldn’t be here, I guarantee you that.” Obama advocates that students should not feel the immense pressure on solely one standardized test, because one test does not define who you are as a person. She talks a financial amount about her childhood and how she was definitely not a strong standardized test taker, but ultimately, she ended up at Princeton University, one of the most prestigious colleges in the United States of America. Standardized testing is an unfair measure when assessing a student’s academic success because some people do not have enough money for extra means of preparation, the test is set up in a strict manner, and it is only a small part what makes education meaningful. Testing in ways like this limits creative thinkers and makes students have to memorize certain facts. The test shows no signs of motivation and critical thinking skills. This hurts writing and imaginary skills. Standardized testing is biased towards minorities and people’s economic status. How you score on one test should not determine your future. The need for standardized testing is understandable, but there should not be so much pressure on one test for students. Standardized testing is not a reliable way of measuring academic success.