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Ineffective Measure Of Standardized Testing

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Standardized Testing: an Ineffective Measure of College Preparedness
Every year, the daunting prospect of standardized testing brings anxiety to thousands of high school students. Their stress is for good reason: a student’s performance on college admission exams - most importantly, the ACT and SAT - is a major determinant in deciding where they will go to college. For decades, such standardized tests have been near-universally accepted as part of the admissions process: proponents argue, as Syverson explains, that such tests are the only way of standardizing assessment when high schools have such widely varying environments and grading criteria (2007). However, in the past decade a growing anti-testing movement has begun to poke holes in
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Over the past several decades, a growing number of colleges have begun a test-optional policy, in which applicants can choose whether or not to submit standardized tests as part of their application. And over several years of these policies, little difference has been found in the quality of students in each class: as Hiss found in a study which compiled data from 33 different test-optional schools, little difference exists between testing and test-optional students (2014). Across over 100,000 students, test-optional students had an average cumulative GPA lower than testing students by just .05 points, and a .6% lower graduation rate. Additionally, they again found that HSGPAs were again a close indicator of success in college. In a more extreme variation of the test-optional policy, Tufts University began implementing a more holistic approach that aims to predict not only academic success, but also a student’s impact on campus in non-academic factors. As DiMaria found, this approach, which uses open-ended questions to assess students’ strength in analytical, practical, creative, and wisdom-based skills, gave admissions officers a much better rate of predicting students’ success at the…show more content…
It has already been shown that standardized tests are fairly biased, across both race and socioeconomic status. Because such tests play a large role in most college admissions decisions, many students are kept from attending colleges solely because of their test scores. Shifting the focus away from test scores helps disadvantaged and minority students gain recognition, especially when their intelligence is in areas that aren’t measured by standardized tests. As Geiser argues, standardized test scores correlate strongly with income level, whereas GPAs do not; thus, GPA is actually a more standardized approach toward measuring success, at least in the areas in which standardized tests are most heavily biased. Furthermore, both Hiss and the Tufts study found that students in the test-optional or unconventional admissions approaches were more likely to be underrepresented minority students, proving that such college programs are providing opportunities to students who otherwise likely would not have been
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