While some colleges are going “test optional” more high schools are requiring the SAT or ACT, reports the New York Times. The rival college-admissions exams are being used to assess high school performance, as required by federal education law. State are dumping the two federally funded Common Core tests, Smarter Balanced and Parcc.
In January, Delaware decided to use the SAT, instead of Smarter, Balanced, “to meet the federal requirement to test high school students,” reports the Times. A month later, the University of Delaware “announced that it would no longer require in-state students to submit SAT scores, citing research that high school grades better predict college success.”
Montana will use the ACT instead of Smarter Balanced, and Colorado will use the SAT instead of Parcc. At least seven other states plan to replace Common Core-aligned tests with the SAT or ACT, according to the Times.
Some states see requiring a college-admissions test for all students, including those without college plans, as a way to raise aspirations.
For high school students already planning to take the SAT or ACT, the move means one less exam — with no fee. But these tests are supposed to judge college readiness, not high school performance.
Going “test optional” allows colleges to raise the number of applicants, while hiding their drop in standards, writes Gerald Bradshaw, a college-admissions consultant, in the Chicago Tribune.
Students who opt to report their scores tend to have higher scores. “Test optional colleges can admit lower scoring students while at the same time maintaining artificially higher test averages in the US News and World Report rankings.”