Can the SAT get up off the canvas? There’s been a lot of press lately bashing both the SAT and The College Board, the group that develops and administers the test. First, The College Board reported that over 4,000 high-school students nationwide received incorrect scores on the October 2005 SAT because of a computer glitch allegedly caused by excessive moisture on answer sheets. Now, some colleges are questioning whether to even require the SAT as a component of the admissions process. Currently, more than a quarter of the U.S. News & World Report’s Top 100 liberal arts colleges have made college admissions exams optional. Providence College joined the list in July announcing they won’t require the SAT, citing the following three reasons:
1) evidence that high school grades (combined with information regarding the rigor of high school classes) are better predictors of college performance than are SAT scores;
2) a desire to increase access to minority and first-generation college students; and
3) a perceived inequity in the current college application process
I tend to agree with #1 and cannot comment on what’s going on with #3. Number 2, however, has certainly become a lightning-rod issue surrounding the SAT. As quoted from Father Shanley of Providence,
“From a moral point of view, the idea that if you have the economic resources to take a test prep course and it gives you a competitive advantage over students who can’t take the test — there is something wrong about that.”
My two cents - the SAT is not going anywhere and it is a test that rewards students who are extremely sharp and well-prepared. Certainly, the College Board has some damage control to administer, but the SAT is so ingrained in the college admissions process that it’s unlikely we’ll see Providence College’s decision mimicked on a grand scale. Rather, we’re more likely to see continued changes in the SAT structure in response to the needs of admissions officers and educators.