The SAT. What a nightmare. Crammed into a claustrophobic room with other bleary-eyed high school seniors, all stinky with teenage-hormone-sweat and CK One. It's surprising anyone can pass those things, period. I'm pretty sure I wrote my name wrong the first time I took it. Well, it looks like more and more students won't have to live through the same hell because the movement against the SAT and ACT is gaining momentum.
The reasons being that the tests don't really measure what students need to succeed in higher education/life, and mainly, many truly exceptional students from low income backgrounds don't have the means to take them (or afford costly prep courses, which can run up to $900), and the racial and income achievement gaps. The latter is probably the most dramatic, as it leads to otherwise qualified minority and low-income applicants being rejected. Not cool, SAT. Not cool at all.
Colleges find that when they don't use the tests, they have a more diverse — yet still qualified — applicant pool to choose from. "Even the tests' sponsors admit that an applicant's high school record remains a better predictor of college performance than either exam is," says Bob Schaeffer, the public education director for National Center for Fair and Open Testing.
Schools like DePaul University and Smith College don't require the tests at all while institutions like Bryn Mawr and NYU waive them in favor of SAT subject tests or AP or IB exam results. According to FairTest, over "40 liberal arts colleges ranked among the top 100 do not require all or many applicants to submit ACT/SAT scores before admissions decisions are made." Other schools waive the tests if students are applying to specific programs, or have grades that put them over a particular GPA threshold.
Cool. On their website, you can see if a school you're interested in is on their list of schools "that deemphasize the use of standardized tests by making admissions decisions about substantial numbers of applicants who recently graduated from U.S. high schools without using the SAT or ACT." All in all, there are 840 accredited, bachelor-degree granting institutions which do not require all or many applicants to submit test scores for admissions. However, the majority of schools still do.
What's the hold up? When the tests are so clearly biased and inaccessible, and the other way to of doing things is working well, let's get rolling. More options means more applicants and more applicants means better odds of letting in the Next Big Thing.
Image via anaken2012/ Shutterstock.