Should SAT scores be a factor in college admissions?

Tim Goral's picture
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The SAT has become such an important and memorable test in students' lives that many adults still remember their scores decades after taking it.

But according to Peter Coy in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, that test is holding many American students back:

Designed to ferret out hidden talent, the tests have become, for some students at least, barriers to higher education. Scores are highly correlated with family income; Harvard law professor Lani Guinier calls the SAT a "wealth test." Type "SAT" into Amazon.com, and you'll have to scroll past more than 200 test-prep volumes before you get to one book that's a history or critique of the test. Because the SAT and ACT are now thought of as yardsticks of ability, students who do poorly on them are marked — or mark themselves — as failures. Overreliance on the SAT and ACT threatens to make America's institutions of higher education even more elitist, adding to income inequality and harming U.S. competitiveness. The irony is that these were the very ills the tests were designed to combat.

Today, more than a quarter of all American colleges and universities make reporting standardized test scores such as the SAT or ACT optional.

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