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Bye bye SAT? September 30, 2010

Posted by Jason McDonald in : College Related , trackback

There’s a buzz in the air about tossing the SAT through the window. Harvard’s dean of admissions, Mr. William Fitzsimmons points out the test is “incredibly imprecise” at predicting success in college. He recently shared his thoughts at the annual gathering for The National Association for College Admission Counseling held in Seattle.

In the Dean’s opinion, “Educational quality has nothing to do, or very little to do, with actual average SAT scores.” Mr. Fitzsimmons pointed out that ultimately, it’s up to each educational institution to assess the role of the SAT in their admissions process. He says they need to do research to determine how well the SAT and other standardized tests predict success at their institutions.

Although this conference stirred up a lot of discontent with the SAT, it’s nothing new. Former UC California President Richard C. Atkinson recommended they pitch the test from their admissions requirements in 2001, to become an SAT-optional school. Although that hasn’t happened yet, the College Board changed the test four years later to appease their largest client.

So if you’re reading this thinking students may not have to take the SAT to get into college you just may be right if:

  1. They’re only considering one of the 775 (and growing) SAT-optional schools. See FairTest for the full list.
  2. They’re considering going to a community college first.
  3. They’re currently in elementary school. These changes take time and most admissions officers at the conference expressed the same sentiment: The test is not perfect, but it’s still useful.

THE BOTTOM LINE: If you’re currently in high school, want to go directly to a four-year college and are interested more than the limited number of SAT-optional schools, you’ve got to take the SAT.

What do YOU think?

Should the SAT be used in the college admissions process?  If so, why should it be kept? If not, how SHOULD admissions offices differentiate candidates?  Add a comment (name, email, and url fields optional).

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Comments»

1. Jason McDonald - November 10, 2009

Great comment, Deva. I agree that there needs to be another measure outside of GPA because some high schools are just plain easier than others.

“but the sat DOES help determine where the student is at in relation to math, reading and writing.”

Some argue that the ACT, or another achievement test, is better at assessing students’ skills than the SAT, which was designed as an aptitude test.

2. Deva - November 9, 2009

Though I only have a 1950 on the SAT so far, I still think it should be included in the college admissions process. If it isn’t, what else is the college going to look at that will determine if you are accepted or not? Sure, there’s the essay, GPA and such, but the sat DOES help determine where the student is at in relation to math, reading and writing.

anyway that’s just my opinion. the SAT is annoying though