The Student Newspaper of Westminster Christian Academy

The Wildcat Roar

The Student Newspaper of Westminster Christian Academy

The Wildcat Roar

The Student Newspaper of Westminster Christian Academy

The Wildcat Roar

The “Cash Cow” that is Standardized Testing

Elise Snyder
A student taking a standardized test pays the price.

During the month of October, juniors at Westminster took the ACT, a popular standardized test that can be necessary for college applications. However, very few students are unaware of the true corruption of the standardized testing businesses.


These businesses give their tests to schools, charge students an insane price to take it, and give none of the profits to the faculty tasked with administering the tests. Unfortunately, these tests are so crucial to college admission that there is very little that can be done to call out their faults.


The importance of standardized test scores for getting into college has decreased over the past decade, with many schools opting to become “test optional”.


“There are some students who can legitimately say, ‘I’m just not going to take a standardized test. I’m going to apply test optional everywhere I apply, and if a school requires a test score, I’m just not going to go there.’ […] And you can do that now. You couldn’t do that 10 years ago.” said Pollack.


However, putting more effort toward preparing for the ACT—or even just taking it—could pay off in the future.


“If you do well on the standardized test score, that can be a significant help to merit aid. Not always–more and more schools now are awarding scholarships just based on GPA, but not all. There are still schools where your test score makes a big difference with merit aid.” said Karen Pollack, college and career counselor.


“If you don’t take it, you automatically rule yourself out for a lot of schools that require it.” said Nicci Hsu, college and career counselor.


Many students who took the ACT had opinions on the test and submitting their scores.


“I wish I had prepared more, but it is okay because I am retaking it.” said Terrina Chambliss, junior.


“I’m praying that the colleges I look at in the future don’t take a look at my score.” said Abel Tucker, junior.


“I know they are considered test optional, but speaking with different college counselors, admission staff, and current students—nothing is truly optional.” said Lexi Anderson, junior.


On the business side, standardized testing organizations are not shy with what they charge for. Nearly everything associated with the tests has a price tag attached.


“Currently, it costs $68 to take the ACT […] If you want to change your test date or test center, it’s an additional $44. […] To take the SAT […] it’s $60, and it’s $25 to change your test center […] and there’s a $25 cancellation fee.” said Pollack.


Many administrators believe that these standardized testing companies know the significance of their tests and are taking advantage of it for profit.


“[Some] colleges require either the SAT or the ACT. […] So […] there’s no other option. If the college is requiring it, [students] have to take it, right? And so then these organizations are not run well. Communication is terrible. They charge for everything. We as educators put in tons of work administering their tests for them–they don’t administer them. And so, we’re really at their mercy. […] We need somebody to stand up and say, “this isn’t right” and put their foot down.” said Pollack.


“It’s a lot of work on our end to get that ready for all of our students to take it, and we’re not being paid for it, and it’s just demanding, they’re super strict about a lot of the rules, and then their stuff crashes.” said Hsu.


Administrators all across the country are having similar experiences with these corrupt corporations.


“There are different organizations that [administrators] were talking about reaching out to and trying to get them to take notice and actually say, ‘hey, the CEO of the College Board makes X amount of money and yet none of us are getting any money for administering this, and look at how much they’re charging the students.’ It’s not an ethical organization.” said Pollack.


“A lot of people will say it’s just a cash cow. They’re making so much money off of this, and unless colleges say ‘we’re no longer taking […] scores’, it’s just going to continue. So we really need colleges to […] speak out against it in order for change to happen because we just do what the colleges require.”


These standardized testing businesses are focused on profit. They know their worth, but they also know what students looking to get into their dream college will be willing to pay to take the test again and again.


Standardized testing scores are so deeply rooted in college admission that it is nearly impossible to obviate the need to have a test score. Corrupt businesses such as the College Board will continue to reap the benefits of their overpriced tests, and the cash cow that is standardized testing will continue to fatten.

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