Testing Optional

Little by little it seems more and more colleges are going “test optional” in regard to SAT and ACT. This is an excellent development, one that may eventually put pressure on states to moderate the whole test, test, test mentality. That will of course have to wait until we recover our senses and do away with NCLB so teachers can teachers can teach subjects, not tests. As colleges find out how little they have to lose by going test optional (some like Bates have been like that for over 20 years), the rest should feel more confident about doing so.
The disturbing trend is having states use the SAT as a school leaving test, which it wasn’t designed to be. It is supposed to do one thing: predict success in freshman year of college. Whether you believe in it or not, that’s its primary function and any other use is a misuse. So why isn’t the College Board protesting when states like Maine decide they want to use the SAT as a state test? Well, there’s plenty of money in them thar hills, so why should they? Let’s see what happens.

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About Will Dix

I am currently writing a book about college admission. I'm interested in the intersection of the college process and American culture. I attended Amherst College in the 1970s, taught high school English and theater at The Hill School in the '80s, returned to Amherst in the '90s as an admission dean, and began the '00s as a college counselor at the University of Chicago Laboratory School. I then joined Chicago Scholars as Program Director. Currently, I blog about college admission for Forbes.com. I also help community organizations serving low income students understand the college admission process so more students can consider gaining access to higher education. I have a few private college counseling clients that I take by referral only. The views expressed in this blog are mine alone.
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