Mind the Gap in Test Scores

Back in 2019, The College Board announced the creation of an SAT Adversity Index. The SAT Adversity Index was designed essentially in the hope of trying to level the playing field, to help underprivileged, often underrepresented minority students compete on the same playing field as their more affluent peers who could afford fancy test prep. At the time, we thought it was a rather strange announcement by The College Board and we poked a number of holes in the inputs within the Adversity Index. We also noted the irony that here was The College Board, an organization that for many years suggested the SAT was a test that could not be prepped for, all but admitting they weren’t telling it like it is all those years. In fact, Ivy Coach’s outspoken criticism of the poorly conceived SAT Adversity Index soon helped put the kibosh on the metric in its entirety.

So when Jay Rosner, a test prep specialist who testified many years ago during a landmark Affirmative Action case before our nation’s highest court in which he spoke of the test’s inequity, penned an op-ed for The Daily Pennsylvanian essentially arguing that the SAT has a history of eugenics, his attack on the test was no surprise to us. He’s right. The SAT has long fostered racial inequity. Years ago, The College Board had to eliminate words like “club” from the test since some students might think golf club while others might think night club depending on where they grew up. For a test that was supposed to measure aptitude, one’s understanding of the word “club” really only measured what zip code you happened to live in.

But the arguments about the SAT’s historic inequities is a bit boring if you ask us. What we liked most about Mr. Rosner’s piece was this tidbit he happened to include: “38% of Penn’s early decision applicants did not submit test scores, but only 24% of those accepted were non-submitters. That gap should be narrowed to help demonstrate that test-optional does not itself put non-submitters at a disadvantage.” Yes, Mr. Rosner. Amen, Amen, Amen. If admissions leaders are truly telling it like it is, if students with great scores enjoy no advantage over students with no scores, there would be no gap at all. Mind the gap.

 
 

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