If one subscribes to the list-serv for the National Association for College Admission Counseling as we do, one might think that just about everyone and their Great Aunt Sally is against the consideration of the SAT or ACT in college admissions. Except of course the employees of The College Board and ACT, Inc. But we all live in certain bubbles. Not everyone believes that testing, including the SAT and ACT, should be eliminated from the highly selective college admissions process — far from it. In fact, a Vanderbilt University student recently wrote an op-ed in The Vanderbilt Hustler articulating just why these tests need to stay.
As that student, Stanley Zhau, writes in a piece for The Vanderbilt Hustler entitled “The SAT should never—ever— be optional,” “Test-optional admissions should not be the norm. While many future generations of potential college-bound students may rejoice in rapturous gratitude, I worry that it will set a dangerous precedent. If the policy is here to stay, it will profoundly do both the student and the institution a disfavor. We can make our grievances against tests known, but it does not change the intrinsic fact that a holistic review of students’ credentials must include their test scores. For one, there is an intentional reason behind synonymizing examinations with ‘standardized tests’: they are meant to act as a bridge to account for the innumerable number of education systems in the United States…Standardized tests serve as a corroborator for the accuracy and legitimacy of the grades. In a world where people can blatantly spew falsehoods on college applications, test scores offer a slight assurance.”
And, no, Mr. Zhau really isn’t a paid representative of either The College Board or ACT, Inc. So where do you stand on the continued consideration of SAT or ACT test scores in elite college admissions? As The Clash sang it, should they stay or should they go? Let us know your thoughts on test-optional admissions by posting below. We look forward to hearing from you!
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