Followers of this blog and CROSSWALK clients know that for over a decade we have taught our students that stress is the enemy of test performance. The more a students stresses about the SAT or ACT, the poorer they perform.
For this reason, we have long been proponents of the test-optional movement simply because it removes serious stress about the test. Further, we saw data from the National Center of Fair and Open Testing of how the use of test scores in college admissions created an inequitable process favoring the wealthy and educated. These were arguments we were championing before COVID forced many colleges to go test-optional.
Yet, there is an argument to be made about requiring the SAT and ACT in college admissions. This opinion piece by Michael Bloomberg is a pretty succinct take on how standardized tests might actually make the admissions process fairer.
In absence of anything standardized, the "holistic" college admissions game likely remains unfair. Moneyed and educated families, in addition to hiring test prep tutors, can also hire counselors to write glowing recommendations and edit student essays.
So should standardized testing remain a requirement? Is it the sole way to compare apples to apples?
Or is the whole college admissions system simply unfair.
There may be an argument to keep the tests after all. Perhaps not simply for college admissions but for college readiness and standardized data that can be tracked over time.
It makes me wonder which, if any, colleges might shift back towards test-required. Perhaps the bigger question is: Can we measure standards without standardized tests?