Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lowering Standards Doesn't Do Anybody Any Good

How well do SAT scores track college performance? Until I see some data I can't tell if this is a smart move or not--but I'm inclined to believe it's probably not:

Wake Forest University will no longer require applicants to take the SAT and ACT exams, boosting a movement to lessen the importance of standardized tests in college admissions.

The Winston-Salem school, which admitted just 38 percent of its 9,000 applicants for this fall, is the latest in a string of colleges that no longer require standardized tests. Officials there say the scores are not the best predictor of academic potential.

Most other colleges that have dropped standardized testing have not been highly selective and accept most, if not all, qualified applicants. The most prominent and selective schools have generally continued to use the tests as one of several admissions criteria.

If the SAT isn't the best predictor of college performance, what is? I wonder if it's zip code, family income, or parent education level--all of which probably correlate to some high degree.

7 comments:

Eric W. said...

I did well on my SAT I, I want it to count. :)

DADvocate said...

Wake Forest is generally considered a good academic school. Look for that to end. A professor once told me that high school GPA was the best predictor of college performance. Of course, this was back in the 1970s before the wholesale dumbing down of our schools.

Ronnie said...

I think SAT II's and AP scores are much better predictors of college performance than straight SAT scores, but sadly were moving in the opposite direction from specific tests to more general.

allen (in Michigan) said...

> Lowering Standards Doesn't Do Anybody Any Good

It must do someone some good otherwise those lowering standards are lowering by accident. I kind of doubt that.

Ellen K said...

I am not sure that the SAT I took is the same test in terms of what type of knowledge is demonstrated. Amid the protests and complaints of unfairness to certain subgroups, this test has gone along with others in shaping the test to be fit for everyone without really testing anything. Frankly, there is some cause for concern when you look at the SAT prep classes ($$$) and their students when compared with the average student. If just a prep class can cause such a difference, then I question whether we are testing for information or whether we are simply seeing who can jump through the hoops set up as testing. I don't think the test should be scrapped as a measure, but there are certainly other factors that play into a student's success. How do you measure the kids who works full time, takes AP classes and makes a 1300 against a student who take regular classes, does nothing and makes a 1450?

DAve said...

The schools just want to fill more seats as the financial aid will pay for everything whether someone graduates or not. The school no longer has any reason to care.

Cameron Brown said...

I am positive that GPA is wildly inaccurate in judging your intelligence, compared to the SAT. Is intelligence what colleges are looking for, though? If they're looking for motivated students willing to do a lot of works, then GPA is slightly better. Still, as a student I see how varied GPAs can be, how AP scores inflate GPAs to a ridiculous degree, and how some teachers hand out out much easier (or harder) grades for the same class at the same school, let along between schools! The reason the SAT is good is that it is standardized. Everyone takes it the same way. I know for a fact that I would have a much different GPA depending on what school I attended.