Sunday, October 19, 2008

Don't use SATs to rank college quality

This Op Ed from Director of Public Policy and Research for the National Association for College Admission Counseling David Hawkins at
ARLINGTON, Virginia (CNN) -- A recent controversy at Baylor University has brought new attention to the widespread misuse of standardized college admission tests to rank the quality of America's colleges and universities.

The SAT and ACT have achieved nearly iconic status in America and throughout the world. As the late author and scholar Stephen Jay Gould noted, the tests are viewed by many as "abstruse and mysterious," with powerful effects on public policy, social mobility, and even individual identity.

Misuse of test scores as college ranking criteria creates undue pressure on admission offices to pursue increasingly high test scores and fuels the tests' disproportionate influence...

...It's critical to understand that high SAT and ACT scores alone do not equate to merit. Last month, our organization's Commission on the Use of Standardized Tests in Undergraduate Admission issued a report calling for change in the way everyone
involved in college admissions uses the tests....

...Test misuses feed the public perception that the scores are the most influential factor in college admission....

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