Mission Statement: The ultimate goal of NAST is to eliminate and change the requirements for standardized tests to be used for the college admissions process. The National Abolition of Standardized Tests (NAST) was founded in 2008 in Los Angeles, California by founder and CEO Ashley Blacher. Blacher was fed up with the frustrating standardized test system required for admittance to college. She found the system to be unfair for American students across the country.
1. Why should tests such as the SAT and the ACT be banned for the college admittance process?
Standardized tests such as the SAT and the ACT do not provide students with an accurate measure of intelligence. Standardizing tests teach students how to perform well on a test, and scores are not necessarily connected to how smart the student is.
2. How long have standardized tests been used in America?
In 1900, the College Entrance Examination board was created and in 1901, the first examinations were released around the country in 9 subjects. In 1926, the first SAT was released.
3. If we get rid of standardized tests, how will college admissions determine if students should be accepted into their schools?
Hampshire College has already implemented the removal of standardized test scores from their admissions process:
"In our admissions, we review an applicant’s whole academic and lived experience. We consider an applicant’s ability to present themselves in essays and interviews, review their recommendations from mentors, and assess factors such as their community engagement and entrepreneurism. And yes, we look closely at high school academic records, though in an unconventional manner. We look for an overarching narrative that shows motivation, discipline, and the capacity for self-reflection. We look at grade point average (GPA) as a measure of performance over a range of courses and time, distinct from a one-test-on-one-day SAT/ACT score."
4. Why haven't more colleges removed the use of standardized tests for their admissions process?
Standardized tests are the same across the country for all students, therefore it is a way for colleges to objectively compare students on the same grade scale, as opposed to different grading methods in schools. While this makes the process easier on admissions officers, there are better ways to see if a student is qualified to enter a school.
5. Why are standardized tests unfair to poor families?
Statistically, students of wealthiest families perform up to 400 points better on the SAT than the lower class families. Wealthier families are able to afford tutors and learning plans for their students while students of lower class families may not have access to these privileges.
6. Should AP and IB tests be banned?
AP and IB classes give students the opportunity to show their interest in a particular subject at a more advanced level. These tests should be continued to be given out because they are taught in school and show colleges dedication to an area(s) of study.
7. Should public school testing be banned?
Public school testings should be continued to give an overview of how students are learning in schools across the country.
8. How do I benefit from joining NAST?
You will have the opportunity to join and change a cause that affects students across the nation. See the membership benefits section below to join the movement.
9. Does this interest group support any political campaigns?
NAST is classified as a 527 organization and cannot directly contribute to campaigns.
10. Who supports NAST?
Families, students, and teachers who want reform for college admissions process.
11. Does this organization apply to elementary and middle school testing?
No. This organization only specializes in testing required for college admissions.
12. How soon will I get my cool backpack after signing up?
Expect your backpack or other items to arrive 5-10 business days after signing up.
13. Can I cancel your membership?
For more questions about your membership, email email@example.com
14. Are teachers in support of this group?
Yes. Teachers of high school students see the stress students are under when taking tests and many support NAST.
15. Do any politicians support this organization?
NAST is currently not supported by any politicians or political groups.
Op-Ed: Why standardized tests should no longer be used for college admissions
Standardized tests are an unfair way to measure a student's intelligence and acceptance into college. While it is not the most crucial part of a student's application, it is a big factor for acceptance in many schools. Standardized tests are an unfair way to measure a student's intelligence. According to a study by the Brookings Institution, "50-80% of year-over-year test score improvements were temporary and "caused by fluctuations that had nothing to do with long-term changes in learning..." Another flaw in standardized tests is that they do not account for students who have high grades but have difficulties in test taking and vice versa. These tests are also biased towards students who cannot afford to prepare for the tests. To succeed on the SAT or ACT, a student has to dedicate time outside of the classroom. This can be costly with tutors and study books and provides a disadvantage for students who cannot afford these tools. On average, more white and asian students perform better on standardized tests than black or latino.
Many colleges (mostly liberal arts) are leaning towards test-optional admissions. Hampshire College removed the whole acceptance of the scores all together. Changes made in their admission process included: interviews, more essays, and looking at the GPA. By removing the SAT scores from the application, "Every other detail of the student’s application became more vivid. Their academic record over four years, letters of recommendation, essays, in-person interviews, and the optional creative supplements gave us a more complete portrait than we had seen before."
With the success the Hampshire College had with this reform and more schools leaning towards "test optional" applications, NAST believes it is possible to change the admissions process. NAST wants to change the college admissions process making it more fair to students of all ages, races, and genders. The first step NAST will take is to gain support from students and families across the country who are affected by the unfairness of standardized tests. Members of the organization will help gain popularity and push for these changes to local schools. If possible, plans will be made to meet with the Department of Education to express the need for these changes. Next, we will begin to meet with the head of college admissions in colleges in California (the state with the most colleges). We believe once other colleges across the country see the success California has with removing test scores, they will begin to change to test-optional. If not, we will continue to meet with these schools around the country and show them the benefits to the school and student if they remove scores.
$10- 1 year membership and a bumper sticker
$20- 2 years and a viser
$25- 3 years and a cool backpack
1. National Education Association: "History of Standardized Testing in the United States"
Find out more about a timeline of the history of standardized testing in the U.S.
2. Time: "Why It's Time to Get Rid of Standardized Tests"
This article sums up research done on standardized tests and their biases towards races and wealth.
3. CNN Money: "Here's what happened when these colleges ditched SAT scores"
Read about changes different colleges have made when they no longer required SAT scores for student applications.
4. Buzzfeed: "Parents Take the SAT"
This fun video shows parents taking the SAT. It demonstrates the difficulty of the test even for people who have already graduated college.
5. PBS Idea Channel: "What Does The SAT Really Test?"
This video gives a breakdown of the history of the SAT and the current reasons schools are using it for applications.
6. The New York Times: "Colleges Should Get Rid of the SAT and ACT and Abolish Preferences"
This article discusses changes that should be made to the college admissions process by removing the SAT and ACT and providing more of an emphasis on AP/IB classes.
7. Inside Higher Ed: "New Evidence of Racial Bias on SAT"
Read about the racial biases of standardized testing and the difference of scores for black versus white students.
8. Political cartoon showing the difficulty of standardized tests
9. The American Interest: The SAT Will Always Be Unfair
10. The Huffington Post: Save Our Teenagers: Ditch the SAT Reasoning Test