Test Optional Colleges – Who’s Kidding Whom?

Test Optional Colleges
These colleges want us all to believe that pre-college test scores, like the SAT and ACT tests, are an unfair one-day snapshot of a student’s academic capability. Plus, they throw in all the psycho-babble about high moments of stress (the period of time during the test) that can cause lower scores.  Don’t you just love the excuses these “test-optional” educators use to lower the bar? 

“Excusitis” gone wild
Excuses for bad behavior are all over the news. So why not excuse students who didn’t receive the test scores they were hoping for? “Diversity” is the overused excuse that is used. Colleges want us to think they are being more fair to admit students who haven’t had a chance to get into college because the demands of SAT or ACT testing keeps them from admission.

We don’t need a standard?
So throw out the window the standard by which to measure results. It’s only important that we level the playing field so our dumbest students get the same exact opportunity as our smartest kids. They already have the opportunity: it’s called self-motivation guided by the self-motivated. In 1975, a dedicated Chicago teacher with little money – Marva Collins – taught inner city poor kids and made them appreciate Shakespeare by the 7th grade. You can guess the results of their SAT scores by the time they got to high school.

The dishonesty of test-optional colleges
A newspaper article cited a study that was done to determine the legitimacy (among other things) of the position of test-optional colleges. Thirty-two colleges submitted the test scores of students who sent in their scores anyway, but it was discovered that these same colleges, to remain in the US News & World Report rankings, had inflated the scores.  Where I come from in northern Maine, we call grade- or test-inflation for what it is: CHEATING. Some colleges cheat. For a reality check, read the last sentence again.

Results are annoyingly stubborn.
Here’s the other revelation: these same colleges had figured that students who do not submit their scores are at least 100 points below the test scores of those who do submit. If your stressed-out student didn’t submit his scores, what chances do you think your student will have of getting admitted?

What’s fair?
These are the same colleges, among so many other colleges, who add another 100 to 200 points to SAT scores of specific minority groups.  This is clearly applicant discrimination, which comes in the forms of economic and racial discrimination. Has the race to the bottom started yet? It’s been underway for a long time. Grade inflation at colleges is rampant.

This from my book
A religious-affiliated college issued a self-serving press release, stating it will no longer require SAT scores for admission. When asked, “Why would a student submit standardized test scores if they don’t have to?”  Their answer: “A student might decide that his or her score gives a more complete picture of academic achievements and potential.” Replace the word “student” with the word “college” and you have Truth in Advertising.

So far, roughly 70% of applying students to such schools submit their SAT scores anyway. Talk about being competitive! This school will use the SATs as the logical tie-breaker to award admission and financial aid to highly competitive applicants. Check this added whopper: “We have been concerned,” says the college in justifying the requirement, “about the inherent racial and socioeconomic bias in standardized testing…”

Okay. Then cynics will be watching for this college to announce the rejection of its religious affiliation because of its church’s “inherent bias against atheists in standardized tests of faith.” It‘s a typical elitist college using feel-good Oprah babble in their press releases.

If these test-optional schools were honest and forthright (Sarah Lawrence is the remarkable exception), they would require that students NOT submit their test scores. Their stealth hypocrisy is astounding. Cheating trumps truth.
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