Motivation and Testing: Learning About Standardized Testing and Using It to Get Motivated About the College Process (10th–11th Grades)
There is no question that standardized testing has continued to be a critical part of college-related work with high school students. Though in recent years several very competitive schools have not required SATs or ACTs, the fact is that most schools do consider it. Additionally, the PSAT’s use as a factor in the National Merit Scholarship Competition suggests that it too has remained an important measure in many colleges’ determination of who are the best high school students. Indeed, it has been suggested that there is more pressure, particularly among the most selective schools, to approach the admissions process from a very formulaic perspective. Leana (2009), writing in the Journal for College Admissions, attributes this formulaic perspective to pressure from boards of trustees to improve college ranks as well as to the sheer increase in numbers of applications. He points out that in 2007 applications to colleges increased somewhere between 8% and 30%. For example, Boston College reviewed 30,000 applications. Leana suggests that these factors have contributed to a more numerical approach to college admissions and a loss of the more creative surprise and imagination that used to characterize college admissions. Testing as a part of the high school-college application process is not going to go away. Accordingly, we need to become even more creative in helping students become more motivated in their practice for and in their desire to perform well in these assessments.