Over the past year, parents and educators alike have been debating the use of standardized testing within the United States.
George Washington University, a prestigious university in Virginia, is officially the first school to stop talking and take action. As of early August, the school will no longer take standardized test scores into consideration.
Throughout their history, standardized tests like the SAT and ACT have been used by universities as an admissions marker; students with higher test scores are more likely to gain access to more prestigious schools.
In the past, this process has been viewed as a fair practice, and a way to ensure that individuals from all socioeconomic backgrounds to have the same shot at an education.
But recently, many claim that the opposite is true, and that standardized testing is an inherently classist means of gauging student eligibility.
According to recent statistics, private school students score an average of 50 points higher on each math, reading, and writing section than their public school peers; this totals about 150 points higher overall. While some would say that these scores reflect a good education and academic rigor, it also reflects the privilege of time and money invested in standardized testing prep programs and the like.
Individuals who are economically disadvantaged, therefore, are automatically at a loss.
According to Policy Mic, Karen Stroud Felton, GWU’s Dean of Admissions, felt that the elimination of standardized testing was the best way to make students from all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds feel welcome.
“We want outstanding students from all over the world and from all different backgrounds — regardless of their standardized scores — to recognize GW as a place where they can thrive,” stated Felton.
Perhaps GWU’s decision to eliminate standard testing from its admissions process will encourage other universities of the same rank to follow suit.