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Are the SATs Days Numbered? 

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A panel of admission experts, assembled by the National Association of College Admission Counselors (NACAC) and led by William Fitzsimmons, dean of admission and financial aid at Harvard, recently put out a report that raises questions about the use of SAT and ACT in college admissions decisions. The panel asked colleges to look critically at the correlation between SAT and ACT scores and performance in actual college classes and decide whether the use of these standardized admissions tests is appropriate.

So What Does This Mean?

Many colleges have already started a shift toward test optional policies, meaning students can submit SAT or ACT scores if they like, but are not required to do so. According to, the number of colleges and universities that have some form of test optional policy now approaches 800. This trend seems likely to continue. However, it's unlikely that college-bound students will be able to completely ignore the SAT and ACT any time soon.

If you're a high school or middle school student, you may not want to get too excited. The report does not advocate eliminating testing altogether. It proposes the consideration of alternative tests that are more curriculum-based, meaning they would test what you actually learn in high school. Some examples of curriculum-based tests are AP Exams and SAT Subject Tests. According to the report, these tests tend to be better predictors of success in college classrooms than the ACT and SAT.

The Test Prep Industry

The panel also pointed to the entire industry that has sprung up around test preparation for the ACT and SAT as an unfair advantage for some and an unnecessary distraction from actual learning. Not everyone can afford an SAT Prep Class from Kaplan or Princeton Review. Additionally, the panel believed that curriculum-based tests would send "a message to students that studying their course material in high school, not taking extracurricular test prep courses that tend to focus on test-taking skills, is the way to do well on admission tests and succeed in a rigorous college curriculum."

My guess is that the test prep industry would adapt their methods to the new curriculum-based tests. They may not be as easily "gamed", but there will likely be places where test prep will allow for improvement of scores. For example, the MCAT is largely based on specific subject matter and plenty of organizations offer test prep for it, including Kaplan and Princeton Review.

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Blogger TravisJossen   April 6, 2017 at 7:12 AM

Panel of admission experts in cooperation with NACAC worked on research paper questions that way, so that applicants were acknowledged of admission and financial aid at Harvard university. According to new requirements they will have to write admission essay.
It is great opportunity to go through test optional policies and apply them in admissions and get for them SAT or ACT scores if they want to see how they managed with the task. Test is required to see how students coped with new requirements. If the statistics shows good results, new requirements will be approved by the system of education.

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