Position Paper/Online Presentation: You will write a convinc…

Position Paper/Online Presentation: You will write a convincing 7 page paper regarding a contentious topic pertinent to college admissions today. Your paper should include a comprehensive synthesis of recent research along with a clear expression of your point of view. A minimum of 8-10 articles from professional sources is required. You will also develop a short PowerPoint presentation of no more than 10 slides that presents the issue and your point of view.

The Role of Standardized Tests in College Admissions


The use of standardized tests as a criterion for college admissions has been a topic of much debate and controversy in recent years. While some argue that these tests provide an objective measure of academic ability and are therefore an essential tool for admissions committees, others contend that they are biased, unreliable, and do not accurately reflect a student’s true potential. In this position paper, we will examine the role of standardized tests in college admissions and argue that they should not be the sole determinant of a student’s admission to higher education institutions.

The Validity and Reliability of Standardized Tests

Proponents of standardized tests argue that such exams provide an objective and fair measure of a student’s academic capabilities. They claim that these tests are carefully constructed, standardized, and have been validated through rigorous research. However, recent studies have raised concerns about the validity and reliability of these exams.

Research shows that standardized tests may not accurately assess a student’s true abilities or potential. One of the main criticisms is that these tests primarily measure test-taking skills and cultural biases rather than actual knowledge or aptitude in a particular subject. For example, students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds may be at a disadvantage when taking these exams due to lack of access to resources or test preparation materials. As a result, these tests may not provide a fair assessment of a student’s abilities and potential for success in college.

Furthermore, the reliability of standardized tests has also been called into question. Research suggests that these tests may not consistently measure a student’s abilities over time or across different test administrations. Factors such as anxiety, fatigue, or test format can disproportionately impact a student’s performance, leading to inconsistent results. This lack of reliability raises concerns about whether these tests truly capture a student’s true academic potential.

The Impact of Standardized Tests on Diversity and Equity

Another significant concern surrounding standardized tests in college admissions is their impact on diversity and equity. Research indicates that these exams disproportionately favor students from privileged backgrounds, reinforcing existing inequalities in the education system. Students from low-income households or underrepresented minority groups often face additional barriers in test preparation and may not have the same access to resources or support as their wealthier counterparts.

Studies have shown that these disparities result in significant gaps in test scores between different socioeconomic groups. As a result, many highly qualified students from underprivileged backgrounds may be excluded from elite institutions based on their test scores alone. This perpetuates a cycle of inequality and limits opportunities for disadvantaged students to access quality education.

A More Holistic Approach to College Admissions

Given the concerns surrounding the validity, reliability, and equity of standardized tests, many institutions and organizations are adopting a more holistic approach to college admissions. They recognize that a student’s potential for success is not solely determined by their test scores but also by their overall academic performance, extracurricular involvement, personal qualities, and background.

Research has shown that a holistic approach to admissions not only leads to a more diverse student body but also better outcomes for students. By considering factors beyond test scores, admissions committees can evaluate a student’s overall potential, taking into account their unique experiences, talents, and contributions. This approach promotes a more inclusive and equitable admissions process that recognizes the diverse strengths and qualities of applicants.


In conclusion, the use of standardized tests as the sole determinant of college admissions has come under scrutiny due to concerns about validity, reliability, and equity. While proponents argue that these tests provide an objective measure of academic ability, current research suggests that they may not accurately assess a student’s true potential. Furthermore, these exams perpetuate inequalities in the education system by favoring students from privileged backgrounds.

As a result, many institutions and organizations are adopting a more holistic approach to admissions that considers factors beyond test scores. This approach recognizes that a student’s potential for success in college is multifaceted and cannot be captured by a single exam. By embracing a more inclusive and equitable admissions process, colleges and universities can ensure that they are admitting a diverse group of students who have the potential to thrive and contribute in higher education.