Making the case for test optional

Each year, more colleges announce that they are ending requirements that applicants submit SAT and ACT scores — joining hundreds of others in the “test-optional” camp. Just this week, Augsburg University in Minnesota made such a shift. The university’s announcement said that the policy had strong faculty support and was seen as likely to boost the diversity of the student body. High school grades in college preparatory courses are the key to good admissions decisions, said officials there, just as their peers have said at many other institutions.

But even as more colleges drop the testing requirements, the College Board has insisted evidence backs its view that the best way to predict college success is to review both grades and test scores. Measuring Success: Testing, Grades and the Future of College Admissions, published by Johns Hopkins University Press in January, was a major salvo in the debate. Essays in the book (edited by three scholars with ties current or past to the College Board) described research that generally questioned test-optional policies. The policies, the book argued, have failed to add to diversity — or at a minimum have not led to increases in diversity that outpace gains at institutions with testing requirements. Further, the book highlighted research on high school grade inflation, which some see as an argument for standardized testing. (Of course, others don’t.)

[ Read the full article at Inside Higher Ed. ]

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