Standardized college entrance tests: A lost love affair?

Tim Goral's picture
Monday, November 18, 2013

More and more prestigious American liberal arts colleges are making it voluntary for applicants to submit standardized test scores, without, they claim, favoring students with high scores who do submit them. These institutions hardly lack for excellent applicants. What’s up?

Nearly all American college applicants take either the Scholastic Assessment Test or the American College Test. The ACT is more popular in the Midwest, where most colleges that have downplayed the SAT are in the East.

The SAT gospel has always been that it provides a level playing field in which the enormous socio-economic variations among applicants can be offset, even eliminated. On this view, students rejected from prestigious institutions despite excellent high school grades, high class rankings, substantial extracurricular activities, and wonderful recommendation letters but less than stellar SAT scores have no reason to complain. Yet some leading liberal arts colleges have reconsidered this gospel.

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