This will be on the test – June 2-8

Man, is it ever hot here in Philly! And when the weather gets hot, the testing news usually gets cool – there’s rarely a testing-related scandal or uproar when the kids are out of school and away from those dreaded Number 2 pencils. Here’s a roundup of what news there is, though…

Peter Salins of Minding the Campus weighs in on colleges, such as Wake Forest, that have decided to drop the SAT.

. . . during my ten years as Provost of SUNY, I had my institutional research staff repeatedly review the relationship between SAT scores and academic success among our 33 baccalaureate campuses and their 200,000 + students, and found — as all the national research has confirmed — a near perfect correlation.

SAT defectors claim that high school grades predict college success as well as SAT scores.

. . . among their own students — most of whom have graduated from academically superior public or private schools — SATs and high school GPAs are highly correlated. Analysts have pointed out, however, that if high school GPAs were to more generally replace SATs as the primary admissions criterion to get into top colleges, grade inflation would very likely erode the predictive validity of GPAs even at privileged public or private high schools.

When a test is made easier, the examinees normally don’t complain. When firefighters are involved, though, it’s a different story.

South Carolina’s PACT is officially gone. The op-eds are already calling for a more rigorous replacement exam.

And…I think that’s it for this week! If you have any testing news or tips, send ’em to swygert at gmail dot com, or just link to them in the comments section.

And now – off to the pool!


  1. KS- Check out

    Seeing the SATs as an anachronism

    Walt Gardner taught for 28 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District and was a lecturer in the UCLA Graduate School of Education (

    “…That’s where the problem begins. If the designers of the SAT loaded up the test with items measuring the most important content taught effectively by teachers in the classroom, too many scores might be clumped together. In that case, comparisons would be impossible. It wouldn’t be long, therefore, before the College Board found its cash cow running dry, as schools failed to renew their contracts.

    “To protect its highly profitable franchise, the SAT designers are forced out of necessity to deliberately build into the test a disproportionate number of items that largely measure what students bring to class in the form of their socioeconomic backgrounds, rather than what they learn in class through inspired instruction. This strategy has consistently been found to produce the indispensable score spread that allows applicants to be ranked.

    “In light of the evidence showing a tight connection between SAT scores and ZIP codes, the posture taken by the College Board becomes increasingly untenable. Yet, despite the data showing that about 30 percent, or nearly 760 colleges and universities, have made at least some standardized tests optional, according to Fair Test, a nonprofit advocacy group, the College Board continues to maintain that the test is a useful predictor of college performance.

    “That claim was called into question in the fall of 2004, when Bates College released the findings of its 20-year study of its SAT-optional policy. The highly selective college found virtually no differences in the four-year academic performance and on-time graduation rates of 7,000 submitters and non-submitters of SAT scores.

    “Bates’s experience is a reminder of the difference between selection effects and treatment effects. It isn’t so much the applicant’s qualifications (the selection effect) that determines academic performance in college but the four years spent in the classroom (the treatment effect). In other words, students do well because they are in a good school, rather than because they are inherently good students.”

    And much more…