Eliminating Standardized Tests Has Unintended Consequences

Dear Editor,

College admissions across the country have eliminated standardized testing and other objective performance criteria.

This does more harm to the intended beneficiary.  The theory behind eliminating objective measures is that lower socioeconomic students don’t have resources to compete on standardized testing.  The problem is that using the same stereotype logic, these same students would also have limited access to writing instruction.  Therefore, “oppressed students” wouldn’t be as good at essay writing as the resource rich “oppressors.”

Also, low socioeconomic students may not have access to the kind of experiences, or recommenders, that stand out to admissions staff.  Most cannot afford to go on mission trips in foreign locations or participate in expensive hobbies.  Yes, a good writer can make cashiering at a local market awe inspiring.  But it takes much more skill to make packing grocery bags as enlightening as feeding the sick in Southeast Asia or as unique as building a sailboat from scratch.

The reality is some students are going to do better at some criteria than at other criteria.  Why eliminate standardized testing when these same students might actually do worse in comparison at the remaining selection criteria?  Adding, not removing, more criteria would be much more beneficial to low economic students.

Eliminating objective criteria, grades and standardized testing, only leaves subjective measures such as essays and recommendations.  This only advances political ideology.

Students have lost scholarships and/or been disenrolled for participating in off-campus after-school conservative events.  University administrators have literally stolen the stage/microphone from conservative speakers.  Students have been encouraged to miss class and assignments to participate in liberal activities.  Admissions committees, comprised of the same biased teachers/staff, will likely select candidates based on political activity.  Liberal candidates will be admitted/granted scholarships while conservatives will be rejected.  This is an intentional strategy to reduce academic freedom by preventing opposition from being on campus to begin with.

This trend does not help lower socioeconomic/oppressed students at all, its only purpose is to advance a political ideology.

As one final point, in a Michigan case, the US Supreme Court ruled that it was legitimate for race to be a factor in admissions.  The more objective criteria removed, the more important of a factor race becomes.  Depending on how they are written, you can tell race from both essays and recommendations, which affects assessment/grading.  Eliminating objective measures makes race more of a factor, making the admissions process more racist.

Alan Burke