Source Newsroom: Wake Forest University
The announcement by the College Board of an SAT overhaul, the first since 2005, assumes that the test is a useful predictor of academic success. Joseph Soares, author of “SAT Wars” and a professor of sociology at Wake Forest University, says research shows a national policy change, not a redesign, is needed.
A driving force behind the movement to rethink college admissions and adopt test-optional admissions policies, Soares’ research shows that high school rank is the best predictor of college success.
“Wake Forest is test-optional, and so are 38 percent of all four-year degree granting institutions in the United States,” says Soares. “A tipping point will come when everyone will rush to jump on board, and the admission by the College Board that its 2005 version of the test was a failure, brings that day closer. SAT and ACT tests convey no additional information over and above what the high school transcript tells us. Even the tests’ sponsors concede that the single variable that most highly correlates with college grades is high school grades earned over four years, not test scores derived from four hours of stress on a Saturday morning.”
Soares says standardized tests are closely linked to race, family income and parental education level.
“Instead of leveling the playing field, standardized tests allow colleges to practice social discrimination in the name of academic selectivity,” he says. “We save American families time, energy, money, and anxiety by saying, just focus on doing high school work, don't worry about a test that stands outside the high school curriculum.”
Soares is available to talk about:
• What is driving the promise to redesign the SAT
• Trends in higher education related to test-optional admissions
• Why the SAT/ACT is a poor predictor of academic success
Wake Forest adopted a test-optional policy in 2009. Results from that decision include:
• A student body more racially and socio-economically diverse than ever
• The number of Pell Grant recipients has doubled
• The number of first-year students graduating in the top 10% of their high school classes – the number one predictor of collegiate success – has increased from 65% in 2008 to 79% in 2012