Do Tests Really Measure College Readiness?

Students are constantly being tested at school because testing determines their college readiness level — at least that’s what we are being told. But this article by the Sacramento BeeIs the Real Problem the Test, not California Students?” explains that students who can’t pass the statewide exam are still being admitted to universities. So does a test really gauge a students readiness level for college? If it does, then why are we admitting students into college that are not ready?

If test scores are really the predictor of college readiness or future success, then where does that leave the students who don’t test well? Emotionally, it can leave them feeling unworthy of self-investment, ashamed, inferior to their classmates, and they can become discouraged with school. And the possibility of them going to college might start to seem further and harder to reach for them.

And If colleges were more rigid with their guidelines, these students would not be admitted into college.

Also, many of these lower testing students are often first-generation college students. And low test scores could add to an already existing feeling of uncertainty about whether they can make it to and succeed at a four-year university. As a result of this growing uncertainty, students might not bother with applying to college. Others might apply and get accepted, but once they get there they find that they don’t know how to maneuver through a college environment and lack the confidence and sense of belonging. All of this could result in an overwhelming uncomfortableness for them which could lead them to abandon college.

So is it a good idea to rely on tests to determine students readiness for college? Should the college admissions office review test scores to determine acceptance? Do better test scores lead to more success in college and in life? Can students who score poorly on tests achieve the same success as those who score high? As the article stated, the problem is that we don’t know. We don’t have the answers to these questions, and we don’t know the real correlation between test scores and college readiness and future success.

In my opinion, our public school system has focused too much on test taking without knowing what the test scores are really telling us. They have burdened teachers with the task of preparing students for never ending tests, and they have burdened students with the task of constantly preparing and memorizing for the next test and the next test.

The article mentioned that colleges are also finding that many college students do not have the necessary writing and critical thinking skills. This proves that there should be a higher emphasis on making sure our students are learning the material and being taught the right things versus a high emphasis on tests and graduation rates. It also shows that we need to hold our children accountable. We need to hold back those students who are not ready to move onto the next grade.  

Personally, I would not like my child to move from one grade onto the next without having learned the key skills that he needs to be able to handle the next challenges and academic requirements. It sounds insane to allow a child to keep falling further and further behind. By doing this, we are providing our children a disservice, and we’re creating bigger hurdles and disappointments for them down the line when they realize that they are not prepared for college, or are not adequately educated for the job, or do not have the critical thinking skills to solve problems or innovate in the workforce and in society.

As a mother, I don’t understand all the politics behind why the school district makes the choices that it does or why there is such a high emphasis on test taking (especially when I don’t believe a test can accurately assess a student). What I do understand is that my child, your child, everyone’s child deserves to learn and be college ready by the time they graduate high school. The law obligates parents to send our children to school. In turn, parents need to obligate the schools to teach our children and prepare them for college upon graduating from high school.

What do you think?

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Monica Luna Gonzalez

Monica Luna Gonzalez

Monica Luna Gonzalez is a certified Life Coach who works with parents by helping them learn to utilize their amazing parenting skills. She began this line of work after working solely with children for over two years and learning of a disconnect between a lot of the child-parent relationships. She is a mom of two children. Her oldest is a freshman in college and her youngest is shopping for preschools. She was a teen mom who graduated from Bell High School, despite the challenges that came from being a teen mom. She wishes she would have been prepared for college right after high school, which is why she wants to help others improve their children's chances for a better education. She is a non-traditional college student as she returned to college 18 years after graduating from high school.

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