The ACT is Still Useful

Standardized tests have been attacked for being biased against some groups of students. Is that true? Should we stop using them? Exams like the American College Test (ACT) are supposed to assess how much information students learned in high school and, by implication, their preparedness for college. However, they’ve been criticized as being biased against … Continue reading “The ACT is Still Useful”


Model System Policy: Minimum Admission Requirements

Academic standards do not need to be identical for every institution in the country, and they shouldn’t be. But all baccalaureate institutions should require that applicants at least meet SAT or ACT college-ready test score benchmarks and have a minimum high school GPA of 3.0. They should also be expected to fulfill core course requirements.  … Continue reading “Model System Policy: Minimum Admission Requirements”


Rescuing “Virtue and Talents” Amidst the War on Tests

On March 28, 2022, Stuart Schmill, Dean of Admissions and Student Financial Services at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced the school’s plan to restore the consideration of standardized tests to its undergraduate admissions process. A heavyweight bucks against the self-destructive path of attacking merit and standards. Will more follow suit? Or, is MIT’s … Continue reading “Rescuing “Virtue and Talents” Amidst the War on Tests”


The US Test Mess

Standardized educational tests do not perfectly measure student aptitude or achievement, and no one argues that they do. But they can differ from all other available measures in two respects: their standardization and their independence of education insider control. To be truly standardized, the same content must be administered in the same manner to all … Continue reading “The US Test Mess”


The Rot of the Prestigious Colleges

Parents will go to all sorts of lengths to give their children a leg up. In Guilty Admissions: The Bribes, Favors, and Phonies Behind the College Cheating Scandal, journalist Nicole LaPorte digs into how and why parents decided to work with the “college counselor” Rick Singer. LaPorte describes Singer’s strategies to place students in highly … Continue reading “The Rot of the Prestigious Colleges”


Don’t Rock the Boat: UNC BOG Members Rarely Vote ‘Nay’

The members of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors are charged with a solemn duty: to oversee and guide the state’s public university system. Although some of their day-to-day responsibilities might seem mundane, many of the decisions they make shape the system’s standards, values, and the extent to which the university’s dual mission … Continue reading “Don’t Rock the Boat: UNC BOG Members Rarely Vote ‘Nay’”


UNC Will Not Require the SAT Next Year

On July 23, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors voted to temporarily waive the SAT or ACT requirement for college applicants. The vote came after UNC administrators proposed that an “emergency temporary waiver” be approved so that students who are unable to take the test due to cancellations are not negatively impacted in … Continue reading “UNC Will Not Require the SAT Next Year”


If We Jettison Standardized Testing, What’s Its Replacement?

The COVID-19 pandemic probably won’t kill the SAT, but will no doubt leave it in a badly weakened condition. Both the SAT (and its close competitor, the ACT) have had to cancel administration of their tests for the last few months and, according to this Washington Post story, universities have decided that they will make … Continue reading “If We Jettison Standardized Testing, What’s Its Replacement?”


The Evidence for Standardized Tests Already Exists

Making college admissions “test-optional” has been steadily gaining steam among elite and liberal arts American colleges. In late September, Colby College and Rosemont College joined the hundreds of other institutions that do not require their applicants to submit standardized test scores to be admitted to the school. Other schools that have “test-optional” policies include Bowdoin … Continue reading “The Evidence for Standardized Tests Already Exists”


College Sports and Educational Opportunity: Exposing the (Half) Truth

Conventional wisdom and public perception hold that college sports provide educational opportunities for thousands of student-athletes who could not afford to attend college without them. The National Collegiate Athletic Association lists “providing opportunities to earn a college degree” as at the heart of its mission and boasts that nearly 500,000 student-athletes participate in college sports … Continue reading “College Sports and Educational Opportunity: Exposing the (Half) Truth”