Fair Test’s Bob Schaeffer’s Washington Post commentary on How the ACT caught up with the SAT elicited a quick response from The College Board, maker of the SAT. As reported on this blog, Schaeffer outlined three key reasons why just as many high school seniors took the ACT this year as the SAT. But he concluded by reiterating his organization’s view that doing away with the requirement for standardized entrance exams – so called test-optional policies – may be the best choice of all for college-bound students.
In his response, the College Board’s Laurence Bunin pointed out that approximately 95 percent of all four-year U.S. colleges and universities still require college entrance exams as part of their admissions process. He also reiterated the College Board’s view that the SAT is “very predictive of both a student’s college academic performance and a student’s likelihood of staying in college (retention). “
“The SAT is the most rigorously researched and designed test in the world, and is consistently shown to be a fair and valid predictor of college success, regardless of gender, race or socioeconomic status,” Bunin concluded. “The false notion, advanced by FairTest, that these tests are biased is one that is largely rejected within mainstream psychology.”
Given the opportunity to respond, Schaeffer pulled no punches. Bunin’s claim that the SAT is a “fair national benchmark” is false, he said. By way of evidence, Schaeffer pointed to studies published by the College Board, the test’s sponsor and the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which administers the SAT, that show the exam under predicts the performance of females, students whose home language is not English, and college applicants who have been out of school for several years.
“Such systematic under-prediction,” Schaeffer concludes, “is the classic, technical definition of test bias.”