Wake Forest University

Tufts and the Kaleidoscope Project

Rethinking Admissions

Continuing the Conversation

Tufts and the Kaleidoscope Project

Using a variety of assessment tools along with standardized test scores offers admissions officers at Tufts a broader method for evaluating applicants. The Tufts Kaleidoscope Project, as it is called, inserted analytical, creative, practical and wisdom-based essays as part of the Tufts-specific admissions application. The questions and activities designed to measure practical, creative and wisdom-based intelligence along with analytical test measurements better predicted student success. Applicants do not have to complete the additional admissions questions, and this in itself, according to Sternberg, is a measure of an applicant’s motivation to attend the university–something that can’t be assessed from an SAT score. Samples of essay prompts can be found in Sternberg’s PowerPoint presentation.

The new assessment questions at Tufts broaden the range of sills tested for educational purposes; increase predictive validity, decrease ethnic-group differences and increase customer satisfaction.

Students liked the additional questions because it gave them a chance to share something about themselves that they would not have otherwise had a chance to share. The additional questions and activities bridged racial and ethnic groups with no significant difference in the results between these groups. Standardized test scores, additional assessment tools, plus high school GPA and personal interviews provide a more complete picture of what an applicant will likely bring to campus and have proven to be good predictors of success.

Additionally, African-American and Hispanic-American applications and acceptances were up. The number of overall applications rose and the applicant pool improved.

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