Students are more than a number


Jackson S

Senior Nick Kamp studies for the perfect score on the upcoming ACT.

Jackson Schou, Copy Editor

High test scores are valued far too greatly by universities, parents and peers when students have many other skills which can define their place in a workplace, school or social setting. 

Simply hearing someone talk about the ACT or SAT can cause a student to feel pressure or stress. In reality, there is more weight put on test scores than there used to be. Students in high school or college can lose their self-esteem because their scores don’t compare well to their peers’ on the ACT, final exams or other ‘important’ tests. 

Most importantly, however, tests tend to have a one-size-fits-all approach to measure student worth and ability. The issue with this approach is that most tests, specifically those used by schools to determine acceptance and financial aid, don’t measure other aspects of students’ lives such as character, artistic abilities or future necessities like communication skills.

Students often think of themselves as their test score. A student that has very high standards could get a 31 on the ACT and be disappointed because their score doesn’t align with what they think they are capable of. That student now thinks of him or herself as a ‘31’ instead of a ‘34’. The truth is that some students are not good at taking tests.  

Senior Hannah Lederman said standardized tests are the worst part of college admissions. “This process is already scary enough, but adding that emphasis on getting the perfect number does more harm than good,” she said. “When you can explain your thinking and problem solving rather than just finding the answer, you prove more as a student and prospective member of a university.”

Finding a solution which allows students to express their cognitive or creative abilities isn’t simple. Separating students by scores and various other quantitative data is certainly the easiest way to judge applicants, but putting forward more power and time to find out more about a student could result in the consideration of more fitting applicants.

Senior Aadil Manazir thinks it is too simple to push aside problem solving abilities and only focus on mastering the test. “In general, success on standardized tests requires targeted practice through practice tests, not academic prowess. Because of this, students without access to study materials have a disadvantage,” he said. “Practical skills will be more important in future careers than someone’s ability to take a multiple choice test.”

Measuring students, applicants or contenders by their scores is obviously the easiest way to compare and group them, but it leaves out some of the most critical aspects of who each person is. There is no judgement of character, non-academic abilities or the way the student affects those around them. 

In order to enjoy the things that truly matter, people need to be reminded that test scores don’t define them, but their identity is found by how they fit in the world around them.