Admit It, the SAT conundrum

Admit it. The Scholastic Aptitude Test,  SAT,  is a critical part of  the college admission process is changing. Yet, the nature of the test and its equity continue to be questioned Gone are the days when colleges needed an instrument to measure the unprecedented numbers of applicants in a post  World War II landscape.  The College Board, owners of the SAT, report that 95 percent of all four-year colleges and universities require entrance exams as part of the application process.  Currently,  students engage multiple attempts in what Lee Bollinger of Columbia University calls “the symbol of all the anxieties, concerns, fears, and frustrations in the college admissions system.”  The industry of college test-prep is now wide spread and grossing over $1 billion per year.

Recently, the College Board’s Laurence Bunin reiterated the view that the SAT is “very predictive of both a student’s college academic performance and a student’s likelihood of staying in college. “  His statements responded to Fair Test’s Bob Schaeffer view that schools adopting test-optional policies serve the best interests of all college-bound students.  Fair Test supports this stand by providing a list of test-optional colleges and universities.  The Fair Test list highlights schools from Bard College to Wake Forest University.  These arguments continue as more schools adopt test-optional policies and as Race To Nowhere chronicles the student anxiety surrounding standardized testing.

Until now the voice of the student has been silent in this debate.  Lawrence University is highlighting Seattle senior Sylvie Baldwin who is consciously objecting to entrance testing.  Baldwin’s decision, supported by her parents,  came after receiving a notice that she would soon be “represented” by her test scores.  “I don’t want that. I’m more than a number.”  Recognizing that her decision may adversely affect test-dependent applications, she is optimistic about engaging conversations with admissions officers.  “I hope I’ve at least put the idea in their brain that there could be a ton of students out there who would say, ‘I don’t want to take this test. I don’t think this test is fair. I don’t think this test represents me or who I am.’”

Baldwin adds that her objection to the SAT has nothing to do with fear.  In fact, she is quite confident she would score well.  After calculating she would spend approximately 60 hours in test preparation, Baldwin will use this time writing proposed legislation for the state of Washington that would require drivers education to require a unit on the environmental impact of driving.

In College Admission for the 21st Century, Leo Sternberg states a college education should produce leaders who will make a positive change in the world.  Although the weight of the SAT in the admission process is changing, there are other factors that demonstrate intelligence, passion and talent.  Crisp Consulting + Coaching is committed to each family and to finding the optimal fit for each student. We empower families and students to grow and learn from the admission process. We are passionate about the educational journey and can help you identify and realize your placement and admission success.

Brian D. Crisp is an independent educational consultant working with families in Asheville, Charleston, and Savannah  to optimize and realize their unique educational fit and admission success.

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