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Posts Tagged ‘standardized tests’

Ithaca College Goes Test-Optional

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

ic-crest-logo1This week, Ithaca College became the most recent addition to the ranks of test-optional colleges and universities, dropping standardized test submission as a requirement for admissions.  In its release, Ithaca pointed to the holistic nature of its admissions evaluations, as well as research performed on past applicants, among chief reasons for the announcement.  “From the coursework they choose, to the leadership positions they hold, and the many and varied talents that they bring, we want to develop a complete picture of every student. None of that is captured in a standardized test score,” notes Director of Admission Gerard Turbide.  Eager to reap the benefits of the new policy, IC is moving forward with plans to implement  for students applying for the 2013 entering class.

Two More Colleges Go Test-Optional

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Two more colleges have made the decision to go test-optional in recent days.  Virginia Wesleyan College limited its decision to prospective freshman with a grade point average of 3.5 in a college prep curriculum, but Sage Colleges of New York included all applicants in its new policy. In announcing the decision, Sage’s provost Terry Weiner said that high school grades and class rank are the best predictors of college success. “The SAT continues to be a less reliable predictor of first-year performance or success in college compared to high school GPA and class rank. Our own studies at Sage have confirmed this. We continue to rely on our assessment of the whole record as the best way to assess students ready for Sage,” Weiner said in a statement. But he added that there were other reasons why the policy makes sense. “In this time of economic distress students should not have to choose between expensive cram courses or tutoring for these tests, or worry about losing ground in the competition for college admission.”

 Virginia Wesleyan, which describes itself as the only private, liberal arts institution in the Hampton Roads area, is focusing its new test-optional policy on classroom “stars” who do not perform well on standardized tests. “These are some of the best students we see – superb in the classroom, but not necessarily super test takers,” Dean of Admissions Patty Patten said in a statement.  “We want to welcome those students into the college community and offer them financial aid and scholarships. Students with a strong track record in high school know how to study, and that allows them to be successful in the college arena as well.”

Salve Regina University Goes Test-Optional

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Salve ReginaSalve Regina, a Catholic liberal arts university in Rhode Island, is the latest to announce it is making SAT and ACT standardized test scores optional for most students applying for admission. The university announced its decision, which is effective immediately, as it was welcoming the largest freshman class in its history.

 Salve Regina joins more than 800 colleges and universities that also have gone test-optional in recent years. The decision to become test optional is the result of a long process of research and discussion,” Laura McPhie Oliveira, vice president for enrollment said in a statement. “Our research shows that the best predictor of academic success at Salve Regina is strong performance in a rigorous college preparatory program. The goal is to stay true to the inclusive spirit of our mission and focus on what really matters, which is a student’s ability to succeed and thrive in our community.”

 The statement pointed out that there is increasing concern that standardized test scores are not good predictors of academic success because they can be influenced by environmental, cultural and economic factors. By adopting the new policy, Salve Regina hopes to enhance its commitment to a high-performing and diverse student body.

“Our staff will continue to review applications as thoroughly as we have done in the past,” said Colleen Emerson, dean of undergraduate admissions. “The most important part of our application review process has always been and will continue to be a student’s day-to-day performance in a strong curriculum. Our best applicants have always been those who have challenged themselves to go beyond the minimum requirements.”

Study: Low-income students still unlikely to attend selective colleges

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

rewardingstriversResearchers Anthony Carnevale and Stephen J. Rose rocked the academic world in 2004 with their landmark study that showed students from the lowest socioeconomic quartile were 25 times less likely to enroll in the most selective colleges than their wealthier counterparts. In response to those findings, several highly respected universities changed both their admissions and financial aid policies in order to attract more low-income applicants. Public policy supported those efforts by making more federal and state financial aid available to low-income students.

But a new analysis by Carnevale, co-authored with Jeff Strohl, shows that despite these efforts, social, ethnic and racial stratification remains high. Their latest findings, published in the new book  Rewarding Strivers: Helping Low-Income Students Succeed in College, suggest that even more stratification has resulted from higher admissions standards put in place recently at selective universities. These standards are rooted heavily in standardized test scores, stacking the deck against minority and low-income students who have historically scored low on tests such as the SAT and ACT.

According to Carnevale and Strohl’s analysis, students from the lowest socioeconomic quartile accounted for just 3 percent of students at the most competitive institutions in 1982. Nearly a quarter century later, in 2006, they accounted for only 5 percent. “If this were K-12 education, we’d be in court” over the differences in how low-income and other students are treated in what he called a “dual system” of higher education, Carnevale told Inside Higher Education.

Given the lack of progress in moving low-income and minority students into selective colleges, it might make more sense to improve the quality of the institutions they do attend, Carnevale said. “Instead of continuing to struggle to move more students into selective colleges where the high-priced quality programs reside, we may be more successful moving money and quality programs to the community colleges where most of our students reside,” he and Strohl write in the book.