What's Going on With Standardized Tests?

Within the last year, more and more colleges and universities have dropped requirements for standardized tests. The ACT and the College Board, which is the SAT, have been around forever and they are cemented in how we think about college admissions and what schools are the best. As someone who did not test well as a teenager and someone works with students who have a range of scores, I am always conflicted about how to gauge or share information about these powerful pieces to the admissions puzzle.

I’m glad that many schools such as Trinity College in CT, Bucknell in Pennsylvania, Indiana University and many others are actually becoming test-optional and not requiring the tests, however, the truth still remains that these tests are biased, discriminatory and yes controversial. 

Thankfully, studies show that high school performance, not test scores, is the most accurate predictor of success in college and eventually in a career. Studies show that a student's high school GPA is five times more predictive of academic success than the ACT.

So why do colleges use them? Well, each school is different but it’s safe to say that schools use them to keep students with low scores out and to make themselves look better, more prestigious and more exclusive. This shows that they favor students with higher scores in addition to a multitude of other factors. 

I know families want to believe that their child has a shot in admissions if everything else in the application is strong except the test scores, but with 20+ years in this profession rarely do I see a kid with great grades and activities with low scores get into elite universities. It has happened, but not often.  Not even an amazing essay can trump low testing which, as a low-testing solid writer myself, makes me sad. 

I encourage you to check out a documentary that I am watching now. It’s called The Test and the Art of Thinking. The link is below.



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