What do you think: is it time to dump the SAT and ACT tests? Jay Mathews, a writer for the Washington Post thinks so. Here is an excerpt from a recent article he wrote advocating getting rid of these tests.
Several years ago, I tried to persuade this newspaper to stop giving so much prominence to the annual results from America’s most feared test, the SAT. I said we were exaggerating its importance and aggravating the anxiety it caused families.
My editors ignored me. They are still doing so. On Tuesday, Lyndsey Layton and Emma Brown’s fine story on the 2012 SAT results led the paper. I realize I was wrong to try to keep SAT news from our readers, but it remains true that the elderly test, age 86, is not doing anybody much good.
Selective colleges use the SAT only to decide which applications should be quickly consigned to the dumpster. (They feel guilty about it and will occasionally keep a low score in the maybe pile if the football coach begs them.) They always have more applicants with scores above 2000 (out of 2400) than they have room for. SAT distinctions at that level have no meaning, so admissions offices find other ways to cull the herd.
Long-term SAT trends may illuminate what a terrible job we are doing in teaching reading and writing, but we know that. Fewer colleges every year require applicants to take the SAT or the ACT. Bob Schaeffer, public education director for FairTest: The National Center for Fair & Open Testing, says, “875 accredited, bachelor-degree granting colleges and universities do not require all or many applicants to submit test scores before making admissions decisions.”