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Posts Tagged ‘FairTest’

SAT Scores Down Create More Cause for Concern

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

This week news of the continued streak of average SAT scores falling highlighted a number of issues around students’ general preparedness for the test, as well as the disparities that exist among different racial/ethic and socioeconomic groups. For the second year in a row (and fifth year in the last seven) the average scores in critical reading and writing have dipped, both of which now sit below the 500-point benchmark. While the number of test-takers grew for both the SAT and ACT, the average score for the ACT remained the same as last year – a 21.1 composite. While these statistics are cause for concern, perhaps more startling are the gaps between majority and minority groups of test-takers, with black and Latino students performing the lowest of any groups.

A reason for such a trend might be students’ curricular experiences leading up to these tests. The vast majority of white students (80 percent or more) who took the SAT report completing their high school’s core curriculum; conversely, only 69 percent and 65 percent of black and Latino students, respectively, have done so. Socioeconomic statistics provide additional perspective; only 65 percent of students with a family income on $20,000 or less completed the core curriculum, whereas 84 percent of those with family income about $200,000 or more did so.

Lees-McRae College Goes Test-Optional

Monday, August 13th, 2012

This year, Lees-McRae College will make the transition into a test-optional admissions policy that will allow students to decide for themselves whether they would like to submit their SAT or ACT scores for evaluation. As stated on the institution’s website, it is believed that other considerations correlate more strongly to a student’s predicted success in college. For more information on the nearly 900 colleges and universities who use test-optional admissions policies, visit www.fairtest.org/.

Saint Rose Goes Test-Optional

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

The College of Saint Rose located in Albany, NY has announced its plans to begin implementing a test-optional admissions policy for the entering class of Fall 2013. The college, which ranked 39th among best regional (North) universities in U.S. News’ latest edition, said in its release that, “removing the test requirement, we let [students] know that their character, talent and individual achievements mean far more to us than numbers on a standardized test.” The college says that the policy will be a three-year pilot program, at which time the result will be evaluated and further determinations made.

For more information on the growing list of test-optional colleges and universities, visit www.fairtest.org/.

Student Urges Others to ACT Out Against SAT

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

allie kauffmanA few months ago, we introduced you to Sylvie Baldwin, a high school senior who worked with Lawrence University to produce a video explaining why she would only be applying to test-optional colleges.

Now meet Allie Kauffmann, the daughter of a film professor at Boston University, who also has gone public with her views about the SAT. Her video was inspired by the fact that an $800 test-prep course improved her score by 300 points. “What if you don’t have the money? Too bad,” Allie explains in the film. “You’re competing against kids who do. It’s like playing basketball against kids on ladders.”

 Allie and her father have taken their cause one step further. They have started a website and a petition called  — “ACT Out Against SAT”  — urging college and universities to stop requiring the  tests as a condition for admission. Their goal is to gather 10,000 signatures and submit the final document to the American Association of Collegiate Registrars.

 “We have put this petition together to call your attention to how unfair and biased these tests are. The tests are unfair to females, minorities, students whose second language is English and students who can’t afford quality test prep classes or tutors,” they write. “Too many students are at a disadvantage when taking these tests.

 “Therefore, we respectfully ask that you no longer use ACT or SAT scores when evaluating whether a student qualifies for admission to college or when determining scholarships.”

 At last count, the petition had a little over 200 signatures, but Allie has at least one strong ally on her side. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, FairTest a testing watchdog group, worked closely with the Kauffmanns on the film.

New SAT Scores Reflect Growing Disparities

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

New figures released this week by the College Board  showed that overall SAT scores remained essentially unchanged from last year. But a closer look reveals growing racial, ethnic and income gaps that have some observers worried. 
 
After gaining 13 points this year across all three parts of the SAT, Asian Americans now outscore African Americans by 163 points on math, 90 points on reading and 106 points on writing, according to Inside Higher Education. In addition, the 2010 scores showed a correlation between SAT scores and family income. Simply put, those with higher family incomes scored higher on all three parts of the SAT than their lower-income counterparts. Higher levels of parental education also were associated with higher scores.
 
The growing disparities did not go unnoticed by critics of standardized testing. FairTest, the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, released a statement saying that the test scores show education reform is not leading to more equity as proponents claim. “Fortunately, more and more colleges have recognized the folly of fixating on the narrow, often biased, information provided by standardized tests and moved toward test-optional admissions,” said Bob Schaeffer, public education director of Fair Test.
 
FairTest, which maintains a database of test-optional schools, says the number of colleges and universities that make SAT or ACT scores optional for applicants now stands at more than 840.