You are currently viewing Rethinking Criticisms Against the SAT

Following the Covid pandemic created difficulties for students in high school taking tests like the SAT and ACT several selective colleges removed the requirement that applicants take these tests. The colleges said the change was only temporary, but the vast majority are now sticking to an exam-optional policy. This is a reaction to the use of standardized tests, which began in the years before the outbreak, and a lot of people have welcomed the decision as a win for equality in higher education.

But, now there is a rising number of academics and university administrators question whether the change was a mistake. Studies have revealed that test scores standardized by testing provide accurate information that can help determine college grades, likelihood of success in college and graduation. The reliability of test scores is higher than grades from high school due to rising grades in recent years..

With no the scores of tests, admissions officials often have difficulty separating applicants who are likely to succeed at elite schools and students who will struggle. Researchers who have researched the problem have concluded that test scores are particularly useful in identifying low-income minorities and students who are likely to succeed. They do not perform at the same level as those from wealthy communities, as well as white or Asian students. But a good score for students from an underprivileged background can be a sign of immense potential.

“Standardized test scores are a much better predictor of academic success than high school grades,” Christina Paxson, the president of Brown University, recently stated. Stuart Schmill — the director of admissions at M.I.T., one of the schools that have been forced to reintroduce a test requirement — said to that to me “Just getting straight A’s is not enough information for us to know whether the students are going to succeed or not.”

Academic study published last summer by the organization Opportunity Insights, covering the so-called Ivy Plus colleges (the eight that are part of the Ivy League, along with Duke, M.I.T., Stanford and the University of Chicago), found no correlation between high school grade point scores and college success. Researchers found that there was a strong correlation with test results and subsequent academic success.

A faculty committee of the University of California system -directed by Dr. Henry Sanchez, a pathologist and Eddie Comeaux, a professor of education came to the conclusion the year 2020 with test results higher than high school marks at forecasting student performance within the nine colleges of the system which have more than 230,000 students are studying. The advantage that tests has increased in the past according to the report of the committee.

“Test scores have vastly more predictive power than is commonly understood in the popular debate,” said John Friedman, an economics professor at Brown and one of the researchers behind this Ivy Plus admissions study.

The Supreme Court’s limitation of affirmative action this year, the emotions regarding college admissions are high. The argument over standardized testing has been swept up in deeper issues about the gap between rich and poor in America and what function, ultimately, universities in America are supposed to serve.

However, the evidence suggests that critics of testing are drawing the wrong lines of battle. If tests are viewed as a factor in addition to other factors and colleges offer applicants credit for overcoming obstacles and challenges, the SAT and ACT can be used to create diverse groups of highly skilled students. In addition, restoring the tests may aid in addressing a different issue that a lot of Americans have about the admissions process at top universities: that it’s been a mystery and not connected to be able to judge merit.

‘Picking Up Fundamentals’

Based on the information the data suggests, why haven’t colleges reinstituted their testing requirements?

Aside from that, standard tests are easy to detest. They cause stress to thousands of teens. The tests appear to limit the talents and capabilities of an individual to just a single number. The original SAT’s name of it was the Scholastic Aptitude Test, implied an rigor that its current proponents wouldn’t be able to claim. Covid In short, Covid gave the opportunity to American society to sever the customs that only a few were able to enjoy.

However, another aspect of the explanation is politics. Tests that are standard have become particularly popular with progressives in politics as well as university campuses that are heavily populated by progressives.

Some believe the tests to unfair due to scores that are different in terms of race and class. Average scores for those with modest incomes, Black and Hispanic students are lower than those of the white Asian as well as those with higher incomes. Test critics are worried that reintroducing test requirements could diminish the diversity of students. The Supreme Court’s affirmative-action decision has raised these worries.

If colleges that are selective made admissions decisions solely based on test scores, racial as well as economic diversity would surely fall. However, almost no one in higher education would prefer using tests as the sole basis for admission. Instead, the question is whether scores should count as one element used in determining criteria to select the most qualified students in every age group.

The history of the SAT offers interesting perspectives. The test’s critics often note, one of the designers of the first test that was standardized in the 20th century’s early years, Carl Brigham, also published a book promoting the idea of intelligence as a race (which later he disavowed). The main argument behind tests was linked to the expansion of opportunities. The administrators at Harvard who advocated for the development of tests, believed that they were a means to recognize gifted students of any background. They believed they would be able to enhance the nation’s elite universities that were run by a skewed section of white Protestants according to Nicholas Lemann explained in “The Big Test,” his account of the SAT.

The most compelling argument for testing is the fact that the other components that comprise the application process exhibit greater racial as well as financial biases. Students with a lot of money can take part in costly activities, like classes in music and travel sports teams, which can make their application stronger. Students who are wealthy often receive an extensive editing process for their essays by their educated parents. A lot of wealthy pupils attend schools in private, where counselors make sure that each student’s essay is polished.

The tests aren’t entirely objective, however. Students with a good financial situation can afford preparation classes for tests and afford to take the tests several times. But the evidence suggests these benefits cause only a small portion of the gap.

Take into consideration that other measures of learning, like the NAEP exam that middle and elementary school students across the nation takereveal similar gap between the economic and racial. The federal government refers to its NAEP as “the nation’s report card,” while academics consider it to be a rigorous test of learning in the K-12 age. Although students don’t take NAEP prep classes for the test and its gaps in demographics look very similar to ones of ACT as well as the SAT.

This resemblance “is another piece of evidence that the SAT is picking up fundamentals,” said Raj Chetty, a Harvard economics professor who led the latest Ivy Plus study with Friedman and David Deming. “It strengthens the argument that the disparities in SAT scores are a symptom, not a cause, of inequality in the U.S.,” Chetty stated.

In other words there are racial or economic disparities on SAT as well as ACT scores does not prove they are biased. For one thing, many indicators about life quality in America such as the amount of income, life expectancy as well as homeownership -reveal the existence of gaps. This is why our society suffers from massive inequities. The problem isn’t always due to the stats, but. The rather excessive Black poverty rate isn’t an indication that the data is skewed. The statistic should not be discarded. help alleviate the burden of poverty.

A Fixed Benchmark

The evidence of the accuracy of standard tests is growing and extensive. The study that examined Ivy Plus colleges, Chetty, Deming and Friedman looked at a variety of indicators for college performance, like the degree to which students scored well enough to gain admission to the top graduate school or to be employed by an attractive business. Standardized test scores are an excellent indicator. 

Grades in high school were lower:

Test scores are a strong predictor of the student’s outcomes in college

Three scholars -the trio of Bruce Sacerdote and Michele Tine from Dartmouth as well as Friedman — unveiled more research on unknown Ivy Plus colleges. The research found that there was only a small correlation between high school results and college grades, largely because a lot of high school students are now receiving A’s. The connection between tests and college grades however was extremely positive. 

Students who didn’t submit test scores tended to be more difficult than those with lower scores.

Test scores are strong predictors of college performance

There have been some who believe they SAT scores are simply an indicator of race or income, Sacerdote noted, but the data will help ease this worry. For every race students who score higher have a better chance of completing college. This is also true for wealthy students as well as among the poorer students:

College grades and test scores are closely related, irrespective of college or high school.

In spite of the ambiguity of the admissions process tests like the SAT as well as the ACT — despite their weaknesses, offer valuable information regarding an applicant’s aptitude to complete rigorous academic work. These tests provide a standard that is more trustworthy than grades from high school and teacher recommendations, as well as extracurricular activities. “The SAT just tells you a lot about how well prepared students are for college,” Sacerdote stated.

When I’ve asked university administrators if they were aware of studies that show the importance of scores on tests They have all stated that they were. However, several of them have said to me, without the sake of a quote, that they feared the reaction of politicians on their campuses as well as in the media should they were forced to reintroduce tests. “It’s not politically correct,” Charles Deacon, the long-time admissions director of Georgetown University, which does require scores on tests, has told the journalist Jeffrey Selingo.

In the year 2020 in 2020, in 2020, the University of California system went beyond the other colleges and declared despite own data that showed the value of tests in predicting future outcomes that it would not accept test scores for applicants who want to submit the scores. In the last few months, I’ve made several inquiries to talk about the university’s policy with officials. They replied via an e-mail statement that reads “U.C. is committed to maintaining an admissions procedure that examines every applicant in a thorough manner and strives to eliminate unfairness in the system.” University representatives were not willing to talk about the policies over telephone or to arrange the interview of an administrative official.

It’s not certain if other universities will review their policies regarding test-optional tests in light of the latest data. In the meantime, many teens claim to be lost. They’re unsure of whether to take the tests or which scores are good enough to be submitted.

The View From M.I.T.

M.I.T. has been a model of how to make standardized tests while focusing on diversity as per professors from other universities who wish their schools should follow in the footsteps of. In the course of the pandemic, M.I.T. removed its requirement to take tests during the period of two years. After the university’s officials studied the preceding 15-year admissions records they discovered those who were accepted even though they had lower scores on tests had a higher chance of having to fail or drop out.

Schmill as the admissions dean He explains that the scores aren’t the only element that the college currently employs. But, he and colleagues are able to use the scores in identifying applicants that come from under-privileged high schools, and who have scores that suggest they are likely to succeed in M.I.T.

In the absence of test scores, Schmill explained, admissions officials had two unappealing alternatives. They’d have to guess which students would succeed at M.I.T. — and nearly certainly make a mistake, sometimes rejecting candidates who are qualified, but admitting weaker applicants. Or M.I.T. will have to dismiss more students from under-advantaged high schools and allow more students from private and benefitted public schools with proven track records of producing highly-qualified students.

“Once we brought the test requirement back, we admitted the most diverse class that we ever had in our history,” Schmill stated to me. “Having test scores was helpful.” In M.I.T.’s current class of first-year students 15% student are Black 16, percent are Hispanic 38 percent of them are white and 40% of them are Asian American. Around 20 percent of students get Pell Grants, the federal program that helps students who are low-income. The percentage of Pell Grants is greater than that at other elite schools..

“When you don’t have test scores, the students who suffer most are those with high grades at relatively unknown high schools, the kind that rarely send kids to the Ivy League,” Deming an economist from Harvard economist, told. “The SAT is their lifeline.”

Some colleges that need an ACT as well as the SAT are usually far from the extremely open culture that is prevalent on elite universities. Candidates for at the United States Military Academy, located at West Point, must take one of these tests. Also, applicants to top universities of the public sector that are located in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Gallaudet is a university located situated in Washington, D.C., for students who are hard of hearing or deaf hearing, requires a score on a test.

A Question of Values

The strongest argument for the tests is made by education reformers who wish to reconsider the elite higher education system by rethinking fundamental aspects. They believe that the nation’s most prestigious colleges shouldn’t be attempting to find the top high school students. Instead the colleges should utilize the resources they have available to teach a group of students who are good and, by doing so increase the social mobility of students.

Comeaux — who is a instructor of higher education in the University of California, Riverside and co-chairperson in the State’s Review of standard tests — is in favor of this strategy. He is of the opinion that SAT and ACT are predictors of success in the future. But he would prefer a more stripped-down admissions process in which colleges establish minimum requirements mostly based on the high school’s grades and then allow students through a lottery. “Having a lottery,” Comeaux stated, “would make us radically rethink what it means to gain access and also to learn, rather than accepting the status quo.”

It’s hardly different from what a lot of colleges are already doing. The acceptance rate for all colleges is in the neighborhood of 70. Many selective colleges accept greater than 25% of the applicants and high school marks could be enough for this reason. “Test scores become relatively more important as the academic level of students increases,” Friedman who is one of the Brown economist, stated.

The SAT issue really boils down to scores of prestigious colleges, including Harvard, M.I.T., Williams, Carleton, U.C.L.A. as well as The University of Michigan. The individuals who manage these institutions are of the opinion that social mobility must be central to their mission and that’s why they offer applicants recognition for having overcome challenges. However, the colleges have a different goal, too: excellence.

They are looking to find and train the students who are who are most likely to succeed. They will, in turn, develop cutting-edge scientific research that will help cure diseases and speed up the transition of the world towards renewable energy sources. Students can join non-profit groups and companies that are beneficial to all people.

The administrators of elite universities have defended their decision not require test scores by saying that tests don’t help to identify talented students. This is an assertion that is not in line with the facts. Evidence suggests instead that tests with standardized scores could contribute to diversity and excellence as long as they are utilized as a single determinant for admissions.

In reality, the majority of Americans are in favor of using tests that are standardized in exactly the same way. According to the Pew Research Center has asked Americans whether colleges should be considering the use of standardized tests in admissions selections. A majority of people across all races favor this:

The public’s opinion about the standardized test scores for college admissions

U.S. adults who say that test scores should be a element in college admissions selection

In our current political climate However, the idea that standard tests are ineffective or unproductive is now a fundamental tenet of liberalism. It is also a case study of the way political polarization can force Americans to take positions that do not reflect the empirical evidence.

Conservatives tend to do this on a variety of subjects, like the risks from global warming, the effectiveness of Covid vaccines and the dangers of pills for abortion. However, liberals can make excuses for the facts that aren’t in their favor, too. In recent times, Americans on the left are hesitant to acknowledge the fact that prolonged Covid school closings were a blunder as well as that police force will reduce crime, and that legalization of drugs may harm public health.

It is apparent that there’s a commonality that runs through these instances. It is intuitive that the progressive approach appears to lessen inequality. However, research suggests that certain policies could be detrimental by harming vulnerable people.

For the standardized tests, these people are low-income, Black and Hispanic students who could have performed excellently with test like ACT and SAT but didn’t take the test since they weren’t required the money to. A number of colleges have attempted to shield these students from the standardized tests. As a result colleges have refused some students the opportunity to make a difference in their lives and even change the world to the good.