Standardized testing is losing relevance

All that studying, time and effort that was poured into the SAT and ACT over the last few years; bad news: for some universities, it is not necessary.

Within the last few months, it was announced that Ball State University, the 5th largest college in Ind., would not require SAT and/or ACT scores on the applications of students wishing to attend Ball State.

Ball State is not the first, though, as it is merely following a growing trend amongst American universities: not requiring the SAT and ACT for accepetance.

With all the recent news about the SAT and ACT, it is time to really ask whether the tests are important as they have always been, or are they being fazed out of necessity.

Carol Easterday, the coordinator for career and career counseling at NC, is one person that has a lot of experience with college admission requirements, given that she used to be head of admissions at Butler University.

“Colleges and universities have been able to use technology and look at the course progression, and the success and achievement of their college students,” said Easterday, “so as they are looking at the data of student success and progress, that’s giving them a better indication … what has a better predictive value when they are looking at them as high school students.”

This idea of universities and colleges evaluating whether the SAT and ACT are worth having as requirements on applications is a relatively new idea.

“I would say within the last 4 years is when we have really seen the shift, and the increase of interest in going test-optional, really coming onto the radar,” said Easterday.

There are even whole organizations devoted to informing schools and people about the test-optional movement.

Fairtest.org is an organization, in their own words, that “… works to end the misuses and flaws of standardized testing and to ensure that evaluation of students, teachers and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally beneficial.”

Despite this movement, and the recent controversy with the grading of the June SAT, in which it was shown that the test was one of the most difficult given to students, it is not unreasonable to ask if fewer students will want to take the SAT and ACT.

“I think that students are super savvy, and they always want to go the route that they have most of their bases covered,” said Easterday. “So I see more students making a decision to be very thoughtful about where they apply and not just applying lots and lots of places.”

Most of the universities that are going test optional are smaller liberal arts colleges, and not the big state schools that far more people go to.

Ian McCormick

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