GLEN HEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The college admissions scandal that is sweeping the nation has renewed a heated discussion over the SAT and ACT tests.
More colleges and universities are debating whether to make standardized testing optional and replace them with AP exams or subject-specific tests.
When it’s lunch break on Long Island’s North Shore, many students have one thing on their minds.
“I’ve been taking the practice SAT and ACT and it’s a combination of everything you’re learning in school,” high school sophomore Oliver Palone explained.
They’re focused on learning in school, not what parents are allegedly rigging on the side.
That bribery scandal however, is renewing the debate over using standardized test scores to judge kids applying to college. It’s an argument that started even before wealthy parents were accused of paying to fraudulently boost those scores – pushing their children in and others out.
Admissions counselors revealed that more schools are exploring change; asking for additional scrutiny to see whether tests promote or inhibit access to higher education.
“If we do go test-optional is that going to somehow level the playing field? I really don’t think so because – counter intuitively – there are more affluent families applying to test optional schools,” Andy Lockwood of Lockwood College Consulting said.
“I think I would still take it just to see where I stand testing-wise, but I think it would be better if it was optional,” sophomore Cassie Nochowitz said.
“How do you feel if it’s not a level playing field?” CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan asked junior Aiden Mandell.
“Obviously it’s unfair. I think that you need the tests, but if you cheat on it and buy your way through then it ruins the whole purpose,” Mandell said.
Experts say when parents pave the way and clear obstacles it proves to be a great disservice to their children’s futures.
“One of the dirty little secrets about this whole scandal is how easy it is for parents to get their kids accommodations to take the ACT or the SAT either untimed or with double time,” Lockwood added.
Those accusations claim wealthy parents are also getting doctors to sign off on extra time exemptions or hand their kids over to pricey tutors.
The college board says the SAT now offers all students free online test prep and is initiating a pilot program to measure scores in relation to a student’s personal challenges.
Some predict that because of all the money involved, college admissions testing is not going away any time soon.