Students Weigh In on the Value of the SAT


Although the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) increased by 10 points this year, students disagree about whether or not the exam is an essential way of measuring preparedness for college.

According to The College Board, a score of 1550 points on the SAT college admissions test is indicative of college success and graduation. The nationwide mean score for the class of 2012 was 1498, which is 52 points lower than the benchmark score of 1550. Only 43 percent of 2012’s high school graduates are prepared for success in college.

According to Patricia Peek, the director of admissions at Fordham, SAT scores did not decrease at Fordham this year, unlike the national average. “Compared to last year, we saw a 10 point increase in SAT/ACT high score for the undergraduate freshman class this year with 1264,” Peek said. This score is composed of reading and mathematics combined.

The mean scores for each section decreased except for the mathematics section, which remained stable. The mean scores for reading went down four points while the mean scores for writing went down five points.

College Board states that the SAT measures literacy, writing and mathematical skills that are necessary for academic success in college. The SAT is composed of three parts; mathematics, critical reasoning and writing.

Yasmina Gourchane, FCLC ’16 said students study strategies to perform well on the SAT, and it is not an accurate way to measure knowledge. “I believe the SATs are not a good way of testing students’ aptitude. Many people who succeed on the test are “trained” to do so through tutors and additional classes,” Gourchane said.

Andrew Abbensett, FCLC ’16, said, “The SAT should play less of a factor for college acceptances. In essence, it measures how well a person can take a test and not their overall intellect.”

Although there are other factors that the Admissions Office refers to in determining a prospective student’s acceptance to Fordham, the SAT’s role in the process is still key. “Four-year high school performance will always be most critical but testing is certainly a factor in helping us determine if a student could be successful at Fordham,” Peek said.

Peek said that the Admissions Office engages in a holistic application review process. “We typically review over 30,000 applications for admission. In our review, we place the most weight on the high school performance as evidenced in transcript and letter(s) of recommendation,” Peek said.

The Admissions Office at Fordham aims to achieve a balance among three factors during the reviewing process. “In evaluating an applicant’s high school performance, we are most interested in the student’s level of course work, rigor of program, and trend in grades. We view the standardized testing in relation to academic performance. We check to see if there is a balance among the three sections,” Peek said.

Many current high school seniors said they believe the SAT is unfair and should not be weighed as much as it is in terms of accepting a student to a specific college. High school seniors within New York City believe that SAT scores place people at a disadvantage.

Carolyne Ricardo, a senior from Brooklyn Technical High School, said, “I don’t feel as if the SAT is an accurate measurement for someone’s success because it does not assess someone’s ability to work in the professional world.”

Ely Panganiban, a senior from St. Johns Preparatory High School, said that the SAT should not be the determining factor of college success. “Just because someone does not do good on one test does not mean that person will not be successful in college. For me, the test is to see if you can handle college work, but the point of going to college is to learn how to handle college work, step by step,” Panganiban said.

Kimberly Ortiz, a senior from Francis Lewis High School said, “I think the SATs are very biased exams. I feel they’re unfair because they test your way of thinking rather than testing the material you know, which I feel is what is important.”

Like other freshmen, Wicksie Tu, FCLC ’16, said she thinks the SAT is unfair. “It is a measurement of your test taking skills. I do not think it should determine someone’s success in college,” she said.

According to Garrett Kim, FCLC ’16, the SAT relies a little too heavily on a student’s pre-existing knowledge rather than critical thinking skills that are actually useful for college. “I think standardized testing is contrived. I had no preparation for the SAT but I was still a National Merit Scholar” he said. “Also, I’m from the Midwest, and there, we take the ACT. Regardless, I don’t think standardized testing should be an indicator of a student’s success in college; I think the other components of a student’s application are better indicators.”

“I don’t believe it is necessarily fair to use the SAT to determine success because [my] scores do not reflect my success as a person, though I don’t know what alternative can be used,” Maria Victoria Recinto, FCLC ’16, said.