Teen Talk: Singing the SAT blues

6:00 = Get up

6:15 = Anxious

6:30 = Get ready

6:45 = Panic

7:00 = Can’t eat (too nervous)

7:15 = Fear

7:30 = Leave for school

7:45 = Terror. Have a complete meltdown knowing that the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is basically predicting my future.

8:00 – 1:00 = SAT

1:15 – present = Worry about score.

 

The SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, bears a different meaning among us teens. Senseless Academic Torture, if you will.

SAT — that’s what I did for five hours, sitting at a desk filling out bubbles that will determine my future.

One hundred and thirteen: According to motherjones.com, that’s the number of standardized tests we have to take from the time we step into school as a kindergartner to when we graduate as a high school senior. Add that to an average of 19.8 hours of testing a year, and you get one too many tests.

In 1904, when the SAT was first introduced, it wasn’t a test to be studied for. It wasn’t a test where you got tutors to help you, or prepped for beforehand. It was a test that measured how much you knew organically.

But standards have changed, and that could be a problem for teens whose first language is not English.

There is bias in tests for African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians, too. Some teens are opting out of taking the SAT. An opt-out program is a powerful and effective way to take a stand against Senseless Academic Torture.

Teens excel in different subjects. Yet the SAT doesn’t support people with interests other than academic ones. The test shows how well you do under pressure, or in reading, writing and math, but not other areas that enrich our lives and bring us joy.

Instead of celebrating our differences, it creates a world where there’s only one path to success. For teens who are gifted musically, for example, but not academically, the SAT can be a challenge to overcome on their path to success.

Opt Out or Opt In, the SAT score is an important factor in our future. So whatever you choose, choose carefully. Although I partake in them, I don’t think that a single test should contribute so greatly to our college application.

Teens are intelligent in different ways. If a remarkable musician wants to get into a good school for his music skills but is denied based on an SAT, then that is unfair.

Teens should be respected for how hard they work, not for their SAT score. Teens should do what they love, not JUST academic work.

The SAT puts teens in boxes. High SAT scores are important to succeed in the world. That is not my opinion; that’s a fact. Do you ever stop and ask yourself, “Does the SAT really test what you want it to measure?”

A. Take the SAT

B. Study for the SAT

C. Take the SAT multiple times

D. Opt out of the SAT

The choice is yours.

Maria Proulx of Ledyard is a student at St. Bernard School in Montville.

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