One of the great mysteries of life, apart from why there is no other word for thesaurus, is why success in school doesn’t always translate to success on standardized tests. Not a week goes by where we don’t hear understandable confusion over the disconnect between grades and scores. Why aren’t the two linked more closely?
Any potential discrepancy between outcomes in these two separate tasks can be understood by looking at their differences rather than their similarities. Consider some comparable scenarios:
You consistently win medals in track events, yet you can’t even make the baseball team.
You wowed audiences as the lead in the school play, but backed out of the winter musical because singing is tough for you.
Though you speak English fluently, you struggle with other languages.
We understand intuitively that every sport or art or language is different, so we don’t expect strength in one area to instantly translate to related areas. Every subject in school is different too, and standardized tests like the SAT & ACT are even more distinct in terms of what is required for success.
Furthermore, standardized tests exponentially increase the level of competition for top scores. Great grades can be subjective, based in large part of the styles of individual teachers and the overall competitiveness of different schools. The valedictorian of one school may not even qualify for honors classes at a different one, any more than the star quarterback at a small high school would automatically be given a place on the team at a Division I powerhouse.
Success in school requires lots of effort, dedication, focus, and academic ability, along with abundant support from teachers. Success on standardized tests demands the same, but in different ways. Just as a skilled pianist will usually find mastering an new instrument easier than will someone who never played, students who excel at school have a headstart on earning equally excellent scores. Closing the gap between grades and scores, however, demands the same amount of prep, study, and commitment required by any class in school. Do the work and you’ll see the results!