Thursday, April 06, 2006

Going SAT-optional: colleges rethink the big test

My family's a few years away from sending anyone to college, but this article from USA Today might be interesting to parents and students at JIS who are closer to making those big decisions: "More universities are going SAT-optional," by Laura Bruno.

Bruno reports that currently "24 of the top 100 liberal arts colleges, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, are SAT- and ACT-optional." That's interesting news -- especially if your child is a poor test-taker! And in light of the recent scoring lapses that have rocked the College Board (which owns and administers the SAT exam), it seems more schools may be taking a closer look at the value of these high-stakes standardized tests.


At 5:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

High stakes indeed! My senior was initially told by a Canadian university, which shall go nameless, that she didn't need SATs for admission and that same university subsequently changed its mind. As it happened, she had written the SAT (in the now notorious October session!)but not with the seriousness of knowing that it 'counts'. Her result, according to the university, was high enough for admission but not high enough for scholarship consideration. Upon appeal, given the 'extenuating circumstances'of the university's miscommunication and certain other factors, the university agreed to do an assessment based on grades only - and our child was awarded a scholarship.

By the way, it seems to be widely accepted that students often improve their SAT scores on subsequent writings, which must surely call into question the effectiveness of these standardized tests as an accurate measure of academic ability. This concern is lent credence by other studies which, I understand, indicate that boys tend to perform better than girls on the SAT but that girls tend to perform better in university!

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Cheryl van Tilburg said...

Thanks for your great comment! I broke out into a cold sweat when I read about your daughter's experience with the SAT. If I could predict the future, I'd guess that the SAT will be relegated to the dustbin of educational history in five years.

In the meantime, check out this PDF document to learn more about tests like the SAT: (sorry if you have to copy-and-paste the address into your browser window... still figuring this tech-stuff out!) It's long, but it's a balanced, thorough overview of testing, how it works, why it matters, and whether it should so much.

Thanks again! And congrats on your daughter's university acceptance & scholarship!


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