More colleges and universities are considering discarding the SAT and ACT requirements for applications, raising questions regarding the value of these standardized tests. Over 150 colleges have stopped using SAT/ACT scores as an admissions requirement, though some still use them for placement and academic advising purposes. Many high schools have begun questioning the value of standardized testing as well. This asks for an exploration of the value of such tests in academia.
Some experts believe that the SAT and ACT tests are poor indicators of academic prowess, while other believe they still have value. A study by William Hiss and Valerie Franks published earlier this year found that the differences between those who submitted SAT/ACT scores and those that didn't were found more in demographics than academic performance and graduation rates.
"Few significant differences between submitters and non-submitters of testing were observed in Cumulative GPAs and graduation rates, despite significant differences in SAT/ACT scores," the study's authors noted. "Optional testing policies also help build broader access to higher education: non-submitters are more likely to be first-generation-to-college students, minorities, Pell Grant recipients, women and students with Learning Differences."
This also raises a question of how grade inflation affects the value of the SAT and ACT tests. Due to varying standards across schools, the nationally standardized tests do provide a solid foundation for measuring academic ability.
At Grand Key Education, we feel that the real question that schools should ask is whether or not the SAT/ACT should be their only means of measuring student ability.
Studies show that student success isn't solely based on grades, but also their sense of responsibility, self-determination and ability to own their actions. That is why our Own It! course focuses on self-motivations and ownership thinking, rather than purely academic progress. By improving students' mindsets – eliminating victim thinking and helping them break down barriers to success – we believe we can foster more ambitious, successful students to shape the future of the world.
Whether or not schools should make SAT/ACT grade submission optional is up to them, but perhaps they should consider broadening their admission testing to incorporate more than grades.