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Commentary: Time to Ditch the SAT

245

Replies to: Commentary: Time to Ditch the SAT

  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 Registered User Posts: 733 Member
    The only folks who want to ditch it are those who don't do well ( and their parents). In many places grades are inflated beyond the point where it's reasonable. An A student means nothing if everyone is an A student. I say keep it in place and make it more difficult to discern the good from the truly exceptional. There are some excellent schools out there and their SAT scores reflect this and vice versa. And for those who truly do poorly on standardized tests, I just cannot fathom how you can do well on any test (i.e. have high grades ) but do poorly on standardized tests.
  • PortercatPortercat Registered User Posts: 608 Member
    edited April 17
    Not worth engaging in this one.
  • gallentjillgallentjill Registered User Posts: 1,834 Senior Member
    @SatchelSF Your method has some distinct advantages. Students could be measured at birth and parents handed their college acceptances on the way out of the hospital. It would certainly save time and energy on all those applications.
  • PortercatPortercat Registered User Posts: 608 Member
    What is everyone advocating in this thread? Sounds dystopian.
  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 2,266 Senior Member
    edited April 17
    @JenJenJenJen
    There are about 850 test-optional colleges in the U.S., and the trend is growing slowly.

    What should college admissions officers look for instead? Hiss says GPA matters the most."

    Considering that hundreds of colleges are now test optional, including Middlebury, Skidmore, and Wesleyan, and those three and others are still cranking out successful adults, I agree that the time for the necessity of the SAT/ACT is coming to an end. Not that the College Board won't put up a fight!

    It's true that study found little predictive power to SAT scores for estimating cumulative GPAs, after controlling for HSGPA. To take that a step forward, is there any admission factor that significantly adds to R^2 for cumulative GPA, after controlling for HSGPA? Could admissions be based on HSGPA alone?
  • JenJenJenJenJenJenJenJen Registered User Posts: 1,106 Senior Member
    @roethlisburger I doubt that could happen, as it's much easier to get A's in some schools than others. However, the UK system -- and I believe Canada's too? -- are more purely numbers-based and they seem to be doing just fine.
  • SatchelSFSatchelSF Registered User Posts: 1,055 Senior Member
    edited April 18
    That said, most of the highly gifted in this country are absolutely tortured by the slow pace of education.Early measurement may help more of them get the instruction that actually challenges them to the point that they need to develop study skills and good work habits.
    And we shouldn't forget the left-hand wing and tail of the distribution either: our education system does a horrible job of matching the cognitively challenged with an appropriate education that could actually help them through life. When you consider that there are approximately 11 million children in the US right now who would have been classified as "mentally retarded" under the standards in effect until 1973, you can see the problem. The overwhelming majority of these kids are being funneled into classrooms in which the Common Core and similarly silly "one size fits all" approaches will terrorize them - and ultimately alienate them permanently from a useful education.

    At both ends of the spectrum, our stubborn refusal to accept that people have fundamental differences in their abilities to learn is causing huge deadweight losses. The attempts to get rid of the SAT - which no one believes is a perfect test (although it was much better before the mid-1990s) - constitute just another step along this path.
  • elguapo1elguapo1 Registered User Posts: 392 Member
    I don't know for I fact but I suspect success in standardized tests is closely correlated with wealth. I also don't know but I suspect there is a cottage industry in gaming the test through extra time especially these days where any edge in admissions is to be seized upon. On that last point make candidates take the test with no time constraint (within reason) then it no longer becomes, in part, a speed reading exercise.
  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 2,266 Senior Member
    Here's an interesting article! https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/nail-biting-standardized-testing-may-miss-mark-college-students "Former Dean of Admissions for Bates College William Hiss led the study which tracked the grades and graduation rates of students who submitted their test results against those who did not over several years.

    One issue with the study is looking at graduation rates. Suppose you get to college unprepared in math and science, but want to major in STEM. You might get bad grades for a semester or two, before being advised to switch to some easier major. Unless you're totally unprepared for college, you should be able to find some major where you can at least scrape by enough to graduate.
  • hebegebehebegebe Registered User Posts: 2,285 Senior Member
    I don't know for I fact but I suspect success in standardized tests is closely correlated with wealth
    I suspect what you meant to say is that standardized test scores are correlated to parental income, rather than wealth. While true, remember that correlation does not automatically imply causation.

    Part of the reason that standardized test scores are correlated with parental income is because intelligence (a causative factor) is correlated with income, and a child's intelligence is correlated with that of the parents. To understand what remaining effect there is due to parental income, you would need to control for intelligence when performing the study.
  • RozenneRozenne Registered User Posts: 19 Junior Member
    Agreed. I believe we need an educational system where it is based on merit and intelligence rather than a single test.
  • oniongrassoniongrass Registered User Posts: 77 Junior Member
    I recall the book from the JFK era "The Best and the Brightest" describing a group of top government officials of the time. What they had in common was a very fast reading speed and constant consumption of thick books. Processing speed matters.

    Beyond just college grades, standardized test scores may provide additional predictive ability for graduate school entry (including scores on GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc.) and success in the non-classroom side of life. Colleges want graduates who will go on to be very successful and contribute large amounts to the alumni fund. They realize that a lot of this depends on the raw material they take in, and they can only add so much value during four years. A standardized test, as close as possible to an IQ test, may provide a better prediction of success than excellent adaptation and continuous near-flawless performance in high school classroom settings.
  • oniongrassoniongrass Registered User Posts: 77 Junior Member
    The article about the Hiss study has this near the end: "“We need thousands of students going through higher ed. Optional testing is one of the ways that that could happen. Optional testing is a potential route to getting many more students through higher education who normally would not be admitted or would not apply in first place,” Hiss said. "

    Well now does that mean Bates, Wesleyan etc. are going to build a lot of new dorm space? Yale just opened some new dorm space, but I don't see a general trend to increase the number of places at most selective schools. Every kid they accept on one basis generally replaces another kid they would have accepted on another basis. I don't see how Bates going test-optional helps to increase the number of kids in higher education.

    (It must also be said that maybe we need some of those kids in higher education, those having difficulty or those pursuing non-marketable degrees, in vocational training instead. Maybe this is mainly a fight by the higher-education-industrial-complex to maintain its bloated size.)

    "Higher education" starts with the freshman and sophomore years, and those are available on a low-cost easily accessible basis, no testing required, almost everywhere at community college. Those who are successful there seem to have little difficulty transferring to suitable four-year schools as juniors.
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