Standardized tests like SATs and ACTs have long been a source of anxiety for college applicants. Now, a new study questions their relevance. Researchers studied over 120,000 students at 33 public and private “test-optional” schools, which deemphasize the focus on standardized test scores. The study found little difference in grades and graduation rates between students who opted to submit their test scores versus those who didn’t.

Bill Hiss, former dean of admissions at Bates College and principal investigator on the study
Seth Allen, vice president and dean of admission and financial aid at Pomona College

  • Guest

    These colleges want to transition to a system in which money is the main determinant of entry.
    Greed is the motive in telling students they can forget about the test.

    • Menelvagor

      Is the purpose of the SAT to put lower-income students into schools? Are they required to enroll anyone with a high score? Dont they look at background anyway? DO they need a standardized test to deny plebeians? I think they will anyway, if they want to?

      I say throw away standardized tests across the board. Schools should behave more like progressive universities and creating mandatory programs that create active civil students–nature research programs, outward bound programs, outdoor adventure, internships, fine arts…and high school should be extended to a 2 year A-level college–to prepare students for university. NO student should be denied admittance to the university of their choice if have demonstrated ability and desire. University should not cost money. It should be a universal right. Only foreign students should have to pay–and only a limited amount of foreign students should be admitted.

      If a student is denied they should be told why–we are all filled up, and then give them a recommendation letter to several other schools, or something. State Residents should get priority. And local community residents should get even higher priority (based on merit).

  • puzzled_in_palo_alto

    I suspect that kids with good standardized scores will continue to submit them in an opt-in score submission system. Families with resources to help their children prepare to ace standardized tests will continue to have an advantage, if they can motivate their kids to take full advantage of these programs. After having taken SATs, achievement tests, an AP test, as well as graduate and professional school admission tests, it seems to me that “the smart money” are the test preparation material and course producers.

  • Sunny O’brien

    Colleges don’t use these tests to rate who would be a good academic candidate. They just use them to weed out applicants, period. For example, most schools are impacted (over crowded) in California and there’s no other way to “fairly weed out” incoming freshmen.

    A better way is to go to a 2 year community college and then transfer. No SAT/ACT bull. No employer cares whether you went to a 4 year college all 4+ years or not, all they look at is where the degree is from.

    • Menelvagor

      they probably need to stop admitting foreign students (chinese students). American schools for americans first. That just makes sense. WHy are we educating the world and giving them all our jobs and wealth at taxpayers expense?

  • John

    But how meaningful are GPAs when the difference in quality among high schools is so huge?

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