ACT, SAT standardized tests near obsolete

Since their inception in 1926 and 1959, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the American College Test (ACT) have been a reliable barometers to gauge student potential and vital modules for colleges to determine admission to a four-year college or university.

Of the approximately two million candidates who annually commit themselves to the ACT or SAT tests and endure the anxiety which frequently accompanies the three-plus hour examinations, good news is forthcoming:  Close to 850 colleges and universities have discarded the ACT or SAT requirement for admission.

Advocates of optional testing maintain eliminating the two standardized tests inspires students to apply at a wider range of colleges.  “It was really about making sure that the right students, students for whom GW would be a great place, were not discouraged from applying,” said Karen Stroud Felton, George Washington’s dean of admissions.

Critics of colleges which no longer require either standardized test say the schools are eliminating a useful touchstone to resolve which students will sustain the rigors of curriculum at colleges nationwide.

Cyndie Schmeiser, chief of assessment at the College Board, the non-profit that administers the SAT, said research had repeatedly shown it was a strong predictor of academic success.  “The SAT is relied upon by thousands of U.S. colleges and universities. It also gives low-income and minority students access to higher education by stripping out subjective factors such as grade inflation.  The bottom line is that more knowledge is better than less, and especially information like the SAT that is captured under comparable conditions for all kids,” she said.

Of the roughly 3,000 colleges and universities in the United States, 850 no longer require either the ACT or SAT for admissions.


[Reuters] [Photo courtesy]