College students admitted without submitting SAT or ACT scores do just as well as “submitters,” concludes a new study. Applicants with good high school grades will earn good college grades and complete a degree, said William Hiss, the study’s main author. He is the former dean of admissions at Bates College in Maine, one of the first colleges to go test-optional.
Defining Promise looks at students admitted to small, private liberal arts schools with test-optional policies and large public universities that admit most students based on high school grades and class rank. (For the public universities, the study looked at admitted students with below-average test scores.) Also included were a few minority-serving institutions and two art schools.
Submitters had slightly higher high school grades and significantly lower test scores. Their college grades and graduation rates were very similar to nonsubmitters’ success rates.
While many students outperformed their SAT or ACT scores, high school grades strongly predicted college success, the study found.
. . . kids who had low or modest test scores, but good high school grades, did better in college than those with good scores but modest grades.
Hiss says it’s probably not so surprising that a pattern of hard work, discipline and curiosity in high school shows up “as highly predictive, in contrast to what they do in three or four hours on a particular Saturday morning in a testing room.”
I can’t see elite colleges and universities going test optional: They have way too many straight-A applicants.
The SAT will be redesigned to “strongly focus on the core knowledge and skills” needed in college, said David Coleman, the new board president, in a letter to College Board members. Some believe the new SAT will look more like the ACT, which is gaining market share.
Coleman, a co-author of Common Core standards, has promised to “move beyond delivering assessments to delivering opportunity for students so they will be better prepared to succeed in college.” Nobody knows what “delivering opportunity” means, writes Alexander Russo.