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More Colleges Backing off SAT and ACT Admissions Rule

Dave_BerryDave_Berry CC Admissions Expert Posts: 2,758 Senior Member
"A running tally shows that more than a thousand accredited, four-year colleges and universities now make their admissions decisions about all or many applicants without considering ACT or SAT test scores. The count is being maintained by FairTest, a non-profit that advocates against high-stakes testing in university admissions and public schools because of its potential negative consequences.

According to FairTest Public Education Director Bob Schaeffer, half of the top 100 liberal arts colleges listed by U.S. News & World Report show up on the test-optional list, as do most of the colleges and universities in New England and more than half in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The list covers colleges and universities in every state, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands." ...


Replies to: More Colleges Backing off SAT and ACT Admissions Rule

  • Studious99Studious99 Registered User Posts: 911 Member
    I didn’t realize the movement was so widespread. Wow.
  • paul2752paul2752 Registered User Posts: 5,098 Senior Member
    Wish they did same for GRE. That test costs 200$ !
  • nikolateslaxinikolateslaxi Registered User Posts: 148 Junior Member
    What would happen to the kid with a high SAT score but a not-so-great GPA? How would his application be strengthened? I don't condone this movement.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,863 Senior Member
    What would happen to the kid with a high SAT score but a not-so-great GPA? How would his application be strengthened? I don't condone this movement.

    Among less selective colleges that admit by GPA and test score formula, aim for those where the result is favorable for changes. Among more selective colleges that admit by holistic reading, aim for those which tend to favor test scores more than GPA when evaluating academic credentials (e.g. a test-score-heavy applicant probably has a better chance at USC than UCLA).
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 8,442 Senior Member
    The comments after the article are quite interesting. I do think that many students will continue to take these tests, as long as the most selective schools still require them.
  • STEMteacherSTEMteacher Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    Success for me in college was cause by:

    1) Setting a goal and sticking to it.
    2) Overcoming set backs.
    3) Being disciplined and responsible.
    4) Being efficient managing time and resources.

    What part of the SAT/ACT covers the above attributes? These tests do not correlate well with predicting success, that's why they are falling out of favor.

  • CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 2,270 Senior Member
    The SAT in fact has been essentially a simplified IQ test for years. The screams to make it easier (ie not culturally biased etc etc) have watered it down a bit by dumbing down the math. Nonetheless. A test that is administered to all applicants is the only true standard measure. Grades and GPAs are a horrible measure by themselves.
  • CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 2,270 Senior Member
    @CollegeIsBad I think you have it wrong. I don't think these trust funders are stupid at all. These masters of the universe are a smart bunch and by and large so are their offspring. However, there are stupid trust funders. But they work for Daddy or start a gallery or start a hedge fund. Yes-holistic admissions gets in dumb trust funder johnnies but it also gets in boatloads of under-qualified minorities, athletes and other politically appetizing buckets-like first gen and so forth
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 11,761 Senior Member
    edited January 2018

    "The elites hate standardized testing because it allows gifted poor people an easy way to become the elites. The move to holistic admissions is to protect the undeserving childrens of the oligarch from competition from the proles."

    Well, that was the original intent of holistic admissions, yes. Specifically, it was first started by some Ivies to keep the percentage of Jews to what they deemed a sufficiently low number and to keep the percentage of the student body who are WASP high.

    However, one American elite does not discriminate by legacy, race, or athletic ability, focusing solely on academic ability (and gender): Caltech

    Unis overseas (such as the UK and Canada) also tend to focus almost solely on academic ability (sometimes taking SES in to account).
  • Data10Data10 Registered User Posts: 2,541 Senior Member
    edited January 2018
    And test scores do correlate with college grades. Although "correlate well" doesn't define "well", the way people often use the term, nothing correlates "well". However, it has been established over and over again that HS grades correlate, and SAT/ACT test scores correlate, and the correlation is better when the two of them are used together.
    Test scores do have a weak correlation with college grades in isolation, but they add very little beyond what is available in the rest of the application in predicting college grades, particularly when the application includes both a measure of HS GPA and a measure of HS course rigor. For example, a couple days ago I posted the study at http://www.ithaca.edu/ir/docs/testoptionalpaper.pdf , which describes Ithaca's reasons for going test optional and results of implementing a test optional policy. They found that by using a model that includes GPA, strength of schedule, AP credit hours, gender, first gen, and URM; they could explain 43% of variation in cumulative GPA at Ithaca. If SAT scores were included as well, the predictive accuracy increased from explaining 43% of variation in Ithaca GPA to explaining 44%. The only SAT section that had a statistically significant benefit in improving GPA prediction beyond the other factors was the SAT writing section, which no longer exists. The author writes,
    The finding implies that adding only one SAT score -- SAT writing -- may marginally improve Ithaca College’s ability to predict students’ performance in college. High school GPAs, Strength of Schedule and Gender remain statistically significant in the projection of students’ academic performance three years after enrolling at Ithaca College.

    If a college's internal studies suggest that test scores have little benefit in predicting academic success during college and put certain lower SES groups at a disadvantage, then it seems reasonable to not require them.
This discussion has been closed.