By Shaun Boyd

(CBS4) – For years, SAT tests have been a vital benchmark that colleges and universities use to decide who they admit. But a growing number of schools — 44%, or 1,050 — have made it optional in the admissions process.

Students who take the standardized test in Colorado have no say in whether their score is on their transcript. The Colorado Department of Education requires it.

“It wasn’t something I was aware of,” said Susan Harmon, the parent of two high schoolers and also a member of the Jefferson County School Board.

She says children like hers who will be applying for colleges shouldn’t be sized up by a single test score that some studies show isn’t even a good indicator of a kid’s success.

“If it’s not required for their next step in life and it doesn’t need to be on there for that, it seems I should have the option to take that off,” Harmon said.

State Rep. Brianna Titone, a Democrat who represents Jefferson County, says “even the best students may do badly on these tests, so we shouldn’t be requiring these tests be shown to the schools that don’t require these scores.”

Titone plans to introduce a bill that would prohibit SAT scores from going on transcripts, unless the parents want them there.

“These standardized tests put an immense amount of pressure (on students). If you think about it, this is your future. If you can’t get into the college you want, it can change your whole path in life,” said Titone, who was urged to craft the bill by a parent of a student who is on track to Valedictorian, but didn’t do well on the SAT.

Harmon agrees.

“Why would I as a parent want something on there that I don’t think accurately reflects either of my child’s abilities, their strengths?” she said.

Taking the SAT test and other standardized tests is optional, but 93% of high school juniors in Colorado took the test this year. Some of those who could afford it underwent test preparation classes and had retakes of the test. For that reason it could be argued that lower income students are at a disadvantage. Titone says the system needs to change for that reason.

Shaun Boyd

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