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Resolved: In the United States, colleges and universities ought not consider standardized tests in undergraduate admissions decisions.

Resolved: In the United States, colleges and universities ought not consider standardized tests in undergraduate admissions decisions.


Results inaccurate
Results based on class
Result based on race
Costs of administering


Need an objective admissions criteria since schools vary
Tests accurate measure college potential


Abolish standardized testing through college admissions
(2018). This is a brief article that argues against standardized testing for college admissions.

The Socialist Case Against the SAT (2019).  It also turns out that the process of SAT test-question selection is flawed in racially biased ways. When the SAT tries out new questions, unbeknownst to students, they put these questions in a special trial section of the test. If a test-taker gets the trial test question correct and goes on to score high on the SAT overall, then the question is deemed a valid and good question and gets included in a future test — all because it is the kind of question that a high SAT test-scorer gets correct. This means that the SAT is populated by questions that high-scoring SAT takers answer correctly. The problem is that this process creates a self-reinforcing cycle of race and class inequality

The racist beginnings of standardized testing (2019)

Educational outcomes and policies within the African American Community (2019).  The educational status among African Americans is a story of continuing achievement and continuing disparities in outcomes. On one hand, there are continuing stories of high academic accomplishments among Black Americans who attend and graduate from high-ranking American institutions of higher education. On the other hand, the continuing gap in educational opportunities and outcomes within Black America is shaping present and future education disparities. This essay examines the impact of recent education policy on education reform and outcomes for African Americans. The dynamic characteristics of the Black American educational experience are discussed. Some attention is given to historical factors that helped shape present-day education reform measures and their impact on the African-American educational experience. Education policy as a public health issue is briefly addressed throughout this article. Suggestions are made for future policy initiatives and advocacy, teaching, and for human-service professionals working with Black children and youth in school settings.

College Readiness: A Critical Race Theory Perspective (2019).There is not an agreed upon marker of college readiness. Indeed, there are a number of inconsistencies of college readiness standards across the U.S. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) released a brief in 2014 which revealed that U.S. State Boards of Education (SBEs) have college and career readiness standards across a vast set of academic and non-academic domains, including academic knowledge, social and emotional learning, and citizenship knowledge.13 states have no definition of college readiness (Mishkind, 2014). In response to the inconsistency of college readiness standards across contexts, researchers including Conley (2008; 2012) and Roderick and colleagues (2009) established frameworks and recommendations for schools and programs to guide their practice toward college readiness.

Affirmative — Grades Better

The predictive power of 9th grade GPA (2019)

As parents and teachers know, and research has demonstrated, ninth grade is a critical year for students. It is when students’ high school habits and mindsets are formed and their ninth- through twelfth-grade trajectory begins to take shape. This study provides evidence that students’ course performance in ninth grade is strongly related to grades later in high school, as well as the likelihood that they graduate from high school and pursue post-secondary education. The report shows that grades are a better predictor of future academic success than test scores. This suggests that students who have strong freshman grades are likely to do well academically in the future. These findings indicate that policymakers and practitioners can generally trust grades as a good indicator of skill and knowledge acquisition and academic success.

The report also shows trends and patterns in freshman grades. Ninth-grade GPA in CPS has been increasing over the last ten years, with far fewer students earning Fs. However, significant gaps remain by gender and race. For example, male students have lower GPAs than female students, and Black students have lower GPAs than students of other races. These gaps are consequential and point to opportunities for policy and practice to deliberately address them, similar to the recent focus on reducing “achievement gaps” in test scores.

Affirmative — General

Race and College Admissions: Harvard and Chicago (2019)

There is no enlightened argument for the SAT (2019)

History of SAT mired in racism and elitism (2019)

Why the SAST shouldn’t be used in college admissions (2019)

The case against the SAT in college admissions (2019)

Abolish the SAT (2019)

The widening racial score gap in the college admissions test (2019)

Is it finally time to get rid of the SAT and ACT college admissions tests? (2019)

Results of removing standardized test scores from college admissionsI (2015)

Standardized testing offers a neutral yardstick In college admissions (2019)

Importance of SAT scores dwindling in college admissions (2019)

The SAT is unfair and shouldn’t decide college admissions (2019)

Admitting BIAS: A review of Test Optional at George Mason (2008)

Affirmative — Standardize Tests Generally Bad

A Brief History of the Testocracy (2015).

Affirmative — Social Mobility Good

Why Elites Fail (2012). This article argues that social mobility is critical to democracy.

Test Optional Good

Defining Access: How Test Optional Works (2018).  This report offers a comprehensive evaluation of test optional admissions decisions and concludes they are best for equitable admissions. It also thoroughly answers the argument that tests improve the admissions pool.

Large study finds test optional increase diversity (2018).

Defining Progress: Optional Standardized Testing (2014). This study examines the outcomes of optional standardized testing policies in the Admissions offices at 33 public and private colleges and universities, based on cumulative GPA and graduation rates. The study also examines which students are more likely to make use of an optional testing policy, and how optional testing policies can offer important enrollment and financial planning benefits. Four cohorts of institutions are examined: twenty private colleges and universities, six public universities, five minorityserving institutions and two arts institutions, with a total of just under 123,000 student and alumni records. Few significant differences between submitters and non-submitters of testing were observed in Cumulative GPAs and graduation rates, despite significant differences in SAT/ACT scores. Optional testing policies also help build broader access to higher education: non-submitters are more likely to be first-generation-to-college students, minorities, Pell Grant recipients, women and students with Learning Differences.


Benefits of Standardize Test Prep Beyond College Admissions (2018).

Standardized testing offers a neutral yardstick in college admissions (2018)

Will the new SAT serve poorer students? (2016). This article argues the new SAT adapts to pooer students and that that is good.