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Fri May 22, 2020, 12:24 AM

University of California Will End Use of SAT and ACT in Admissions

Source: New York Times

SACRAMENTO ó The University of California on Thursday voted to phase out the SAT and ACT as requirements to apply to its system of 10 schools, which include some of the nationís most popular campuses, in a decision with major implications for the use of standardized tests in college admissions.

Given the size and influence of the California system, whose marquee schools include the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, Berkeley, the move is expected to accelerate the momentum of American colleges away from the tests, amid charges that they are unfair to poor, black and Hispanic students.

The school systemís action, which follows many small liberal arts colleges, comes as the ACT and the College Board, a nonprofit organization that administers the SAT, are suffering financially from the cancellation of test dates during the coronavirus pandemic. One critic of the industry estimated that the College Board had lost $45 million in revenue this spring.

Although many students will likely continue to take the exams as long as they are required by highly competitive schools like Stanford and those in the Ivy League, Californiaís decision will clearly be a blow to the image of the tests, and experts said it could tip the balance for other schools in deciding whether to eliminate them.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/21/us/university-california-sat-act.html



This article explains that private schools like Smith and Chicago have gone test optional recently. However, there's a difference between highly selective private schools like those vs. a state's entire research university system.

The last five years - online misinformation, the resurrection of vaccine phobia and anti-Semitism from the graveyard of history, the inability for the general public to understand the science behind coronavirus - have shown me (a Millennial) we need critical reasoning more than ever. For those older than me, I'm sure you'd say the last 10, 15, or 20 years...if you have a case for 30, 40, or 50+ I'd love to hear it.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to have a more socially equal society. But dumbing down the academic standards of the nation's greatest public university system is NOT the way to go about it. Instead, give disadvantaged groups more access to the resources they need to be successful with the SAT. For crying out loud, it's 2020, and with resources like Khan Academy who the hell needs to drop thousands of dollars for SAT prep?

There's already enough anti-intellectualism coming out of AM radio, social media, blogs, and sadly the White House too. Why the hell is the UC system joining in on that?

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Reply University of California Will End Use of SAT and ACT in Admissions (Original post)
alp227 Friday OP
pnwmom Friday #1
LovingA2andMI Friday #2
Yavin4 Friday #3
alp227 Friday #6
JI7 Friday #9
pnwmom Friday #11
Yavin4 Friday #21
pnwmom Friday #28
Yavin4 Friday #20
onetexan Friday #29
msongs Friday #4
Initech Friday #5
LeftInTX Friday #7
JI7 Friday #8
Yavin4 Friday #22
JI7 Friday #23
rickyhall Friday #10
onlyadream Friday #12
Squinch Friday #14
onlyadream Friday #32
Squinch Friday #13
madaboutharry Friday #15
Lonestarblue Friday #16
bucolic_frolic Friday #17
Ford_Prefect Friday #18
marble falls Friday #19
0nirevets Friday #24
Yavin4 Friday #25
alp227 Friday #26
Yavin4 Friday #27
geralmar Friday #30
Happy Hoosier Friday #31
Xolodno Friday #33

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 12:32 AM

1. But these tests don't test critical reasoning. The SAT is mostly a vocabulary and reading test

along with math through Algebra and Geometry.

The ACT includes some subject matter tests also. But why is that better than looking at assessing their transcripts?

Several studies have suggested that grades may be a better measure of college success than test scores are. One by the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research found that high school grades correlated strongly and consistently with college graduation, while the correlation between graduation and ACT scores was weak.

Another study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, questioned the conventional wisdom that standardized tests are more reliable than grades from schools of different quality. It found that high-school grade point average was ďconsistently the best predictorĒ of cumulative college grades and graduation.


https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/10/us/sat-act-uc-lawsuit.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 12:42 AM

2. GOOD!!!

There are a million ways to measure a student preparedness for University outside of a Bias test!

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 12:49 AM

3. You're conflating the fitness of the SAT and ACT admissions tests with the general public's lack of

critical thinking skills.

First, we've had the SAT and ACT tests for decades now, and American critical thinking skils have declined over that time. Second, these tests do not test critical thinking skills. They test your ability to sit in a room and take a test for 4 hours. There's a lot more that goes into learning than sitting for an exam.

But, let's take the point of your post, the dumbing down of Americans. We can accomplish that without the SAT or ACT. We can acomplish that with better investment in K-12 education with pre-school for everyone and extending high school for 2 years using those years to prepare students for the real world or higher education.

The anti-intellectualism movement has gained traction in our culture because our education system only wants to teach the cognitive elite. Students are repeatedly tested. Those that do well on a test are sent to the better public schools and get the better teachers. Those that do not do well are shuffled off to the side and ignored. These are the people that become fodder for the anti-intellectualism that you're complaining about.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #3)

Fri May 22, 2020, 02:20 AM

6. Then how come the SAT was called the SAT Reasoning Test?

Wikipedia:

Since it was debuted by the College Board in 1926, its name and scoring have changed several times; originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, it was later called the Scholastic Assessment Test, then the SAT I: Reasoning Test, then the SAT Reasoning Test, then simply the SAT.


Also, not just those who can "pass a test" get the better teachers/schools; as someone who went to public schools from kindergarten to college I'm not sure where you're getting this idea about public schools being "ability grouped". Some kids are stuck with shit schools due to circumstances beyond their control (low funding, bad parents, etc.) They do become easy targets for scammers, grifters, and other promoters of bad ideas.

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Response to alp227 (Reply #6)

Fri May 22, 2020, 04:08 AM

9. Most students do well based on the prep courses and other materials

that poor people have less access to.

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Response to alp227 (Reply #6)

Fri May 22, 2020, 05:53 AM

11. They thought it worked as a "brand," since they decided calling it an "Aptitude" test

wasn't appropriate. But the content didn't significantly change.

The reading part is still heavily vocabulary and reading, and the math is basic high school math. Student transcripts correlate better with college performance than the SAT's do.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #11)

Fri May 22, 2020, 09:35 AM

21. I did shitty on my SATs, but I got through undergrad with little to no problem.

I also have an MBA and I am currently working towards my Master in Data Science.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #21)

Fri May 22, 2020, 01:57 PM

28. Another thing some people don't realize is that some of the best students

might not necessarily do as well as expected.

A top math student I knew took calculus in 10th grade. So by the time of senior year, all the algebra and geometry was a distant memory. The way the test was scored that year, getting two wrong dropped the score from 800 to 720 or 730. The schools know this, so if they're concerned about ability, they don't care. If they care more about keeping their average SAT score elevated, then they might reject that top student. The one I know graduated with a GPA of 5 from a top engineering school and then went on to get a PhD in engineering from another top school.

But her math SAT was about the same as mine, a solid Alg/Geometry student but no math genius. What a joke.

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Response to alp227 (Reply #6)

Fri May 22, 2020, 09:33 AM

20. Do you have kids in school now?

I don't but many of my colleagues do. You would be amazed at the number of aptitude tests that kids as young as 5 have to take to get into the better PUBLIC schools. Our PUBLIC education system is set up to teach only the kids that do well on tests.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #20)

Fri May 22, 2020, 03:23 PM

29. Therein lies the problem. Note these tests are owned by private companies and it's all about money.

The harder the test the more prestige. Baloney that it should be used as a tool for admission criteria.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 01:17 AM

4. spend your entire high school yrs playing w/your phone in class and can't pass the SAT?

here's your relief lol

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 01:28 AM

5. Who wants to pay higher education money when you can't go to the higher education campus?

I suspect this will change as the pandemic plays out and eventually dies down but right now I wouldn't want to pay the higher education price tag only to stay at home and phone it in during this crisis. Nope.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 02:45 AM

7. I agree

How do you tell if someone has a descent/poor HS education?

When I went to college, we had all these small town kids who got straight A's, in HS, only to get to college and be mediocre students.

I went to one of the best public HS in WI and got B's. When I went to college, I made the Dean's List almost every semester.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 04:05 AM

8. They often benefit those with money and hurt the poor

becsuse students usually do well based on the prep courses.

And those with money also get doctor's notes saying the student needs more time.

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Response to JI7 (Reply #8)

Fri May 22, 2020, 09:36 AM

22. If prep courses improve your score...

are you really testing aptitude or are you testing the ability to take a test?

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #22)

Fri May 22, 2020, 09:40 AM

23. It's always been the ability to take the test.

Prep has a lot to do with how well students will do.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 05:44 AM

10. Not enough enrollees due to costs

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 06:49 AM

12. Standards in teaching should not be dropped BUT

The SAT is a horrible test where there are specific strategies that are taught to those with means so they can do better. Itís an industry. It hurts the disadvantaged.

Common core was a national standard that was great, it was well defined so that curriculum developers knew all requirements, and students in one state were taught the same as students in another state. The problem with common core, the thing that gave it a bad rap, was the testing and how they scores were used (as a metric against teachers and schools). Also, some schools would not allow teachers to teach the way they saw fit, which really isnít common core, but more a bad admin decision.

But, please drop the SAT. I got a 350 in math and got a degree in engineering, and nothing lower than an A- in all math classes.

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Response to onlyadream (Reply #12)

Fri May 22, 2020, 06:54 AM

14. The common core has big intrinsic problems too, though.

It is geared only at those in the middle. Those who are academically gifted are often not challenged within its framework, and those who are intellectually challenged are often just left to rot.

Lets bring back teaching. Let's let students begin at their own levels and advance as far as they can from there, rather than tryimg to fit everyone into the middle box.

Let's bring back learning where kids explore and discover rather than getting instruction in how to take an ill-designed test.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #14)

Fri May 22, 2020, 07:37 PM

32. Common core isn't perfect but

I think defining standards is a good start.
It should be flexible enough to accommodate all types of learners though and I agree that itís lacking in that respect. More thought and study needs to go into this.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 06:50 AM

13. I don't think Smith and Chicago are dumbing down anything.

Its time our education weans itself off The College Board and, more importantly, Pearson. Once we do, you will see the rise in academic standards that you are looking for.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 06:56 AM

15. The SAT test has its origins in anti-Semitism.

The presidents of the IVY League universities in the early part of the 20th century became alarmed at the percentage of Jewish students gaining admission. The SAT test was designed to make it difficult for students who were immigrants or from immigrant families to answer questions with themes based on American culture. Now it is designed to help those who can afford tutors and expensive prep courses. There have been many studies that demonstrate success in college is better predicted by grades rather than SAT or ACT scores.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 07:33 AM

16. Standardized test scores are not the best predictors of college success.

Studies have shown that underprivileged students tend to perform worse on standardized tests than students whose families can afford test prep and coaching. A better measure of potential college success is the high school GPA. Poor students who show the persistence to achieve a high GPA have higher college graduation rates than those who do well on the ADT/SAT but have mediocre high school GPAs. Standardized tests arenít needed to identify the students who study and get good grades in high school, especially is they also take some Advanced Placement courses.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 08:03 AM

17. I learn more off well-selected YouTube and Open Culture than I did in most college courses

There's a part of me that says, democracy is when the last 3% who pay no attention to the public good, are swayed by big money and decide elections, so you have the dumbest steering the ship.

College is where the ignorant congregate to learn something which wasn't learned by the teachers who would be out doing something important if they had learned something. And if they do know anything, they don't want to tell you because they're afraid you might steal it and make something more of it than they ever could. Oh, and keep paying them, just like you pay doctors and mechanics for their knowledge every time you need something.

Elite schools are for snobbery and little else.

So you want anti-intellectualism, there it is. If you go to college, try to learn something in spite of it. Find a guru who is quietly successful in life and seek guidance, because the self-made know far more than those who operate the system. They know to excel, deliver alpha as investors would say, you need to understand the system and find a niche to exploit. That is very hard these days with so many mediiocre degrees walking around. 1950s to 1980s, degrees were an advantage. Now they're just a driver's license.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 08:05 AM

18. So now we are saying the only thing SAT and ACT measured is White cultural bias and vocabulary?

Thus anyone scoring well on them must therefore be a well-read bigot, which I was taught is an oxymoron. The argument seems to ignore HOW the testing results have been interpreted and applied, and by whom.

If the tests were differently constructed would they disadvantage those from middle-class suburban backgrounds who happen to also have math ability?

I happen to have been a child who read almost everything I could get hold of and who was sensitive to how east coast american English sounded in the later 1960's. I have always been adept at math. My first exposure to geometry was not a success in that I could see what the answer was but cold not always recall how I knew it.

When I took the SAT my scores were not outstanding. I was better than average, but in that time low 1200-ish was an ordinary score among my friends. I had the curious experience of one friend scoring 800 on the math and just below it on the verbal section. I was not surprised in that he was clearly a bright and accomplished student. If there had been an SAT-prep system in that time and I were able to use it I have no doubt my scores would have been closer to his. I was not the serious student nor academically skilled to say the least. The only time I sat the test I was not aware how much depended on it. I also had an un-diagnosed learning disability. It appears I also had an un-diagnosed testing ability.

That the SAT and ACT tests have apparent cultural bias does not eliminate the need for a transportable method of evaluating what students have learned and can perform.

That the American Conservative movement has attacked and repeatedly de-funded public education should make clear that the processes of evaluating and validating that education were, and are measuring something they wanted to see less of. That does not explain the biases in education nor in our formal culture which have lead to a system where the well-off can buy their children's future and those not so well-heeled can only hope their children will have one.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 08:27 AM

19. The SAT and ACT was the only way I got into college as a non diagnosed dyslexic in '69.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 10:25 AM

24. I agree, teach critical reasoning, and dump SAT/ACT biased by design against the underprivileged.

Standardized tests like the SAT, ACT do not have anything to do with critical reasoning. They were not designed for, and do not test for, critical reasoning. If we want more critical reasoning skills as a condition of applying for college teach more classes that emphasize critical reasoning skills, but make them available to all students in every school across the nation, and make sure the students have EQUAL ACCESS to the books and materials they need, and receive PROPER NUTRITION for free.

Testing "equally" for any set of academic skills as a condition of college-level admission is systemically biased toward those institutions and students with access to resources, including good teachers, books, and most importantly meals and nutrition.

Dump the standardized tests, stop the brain drain of teachers seeking higher pay in affluent schools and neighborhoods, provide all books and teaching materials for free to students and teachers, and PROVIDE PLENTY OF NUTRITIOUS FOOD FOR FREE TO ALL STUDENTS.

You want "EQUALITY"? Let's talk equality.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 10:27 AM

25. It's possible to be pro intellectualism AND be against the SAT/ACT tests

Being against standardized tests DOES NOT mean that you are against education or that you are an anti-intellectual.

Our educational system has become a stupid competition. Students are competing to get the best grades instead of understanding/absorbing the material.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #25)

Fri May 22, 2020, 12:33 PM

26. But don't good grades come FROM understanding the material?

College level classes are far beyond mere regurgitating of facts and rote memorization.

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Response to alp227 (Reply #26)

Fri May 22, 2020, 01:04 PM

27. To a large extent, education today has become a giant video game...

...where students see it as accumulating as many points (i.e. grades, test scores, etc.) as possible in order to move to the next level. And just like video games, there are cheat codes along the way.

IMHO, true education occurs outside of any formal instruction. The best that any educational system accomplishes is introducing you to the material. What you do with that material on your own after the classes are over determines whether you truly understand the material or not.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 04:47 PM

31. I understand the objection to these tests, but....

Will the basis of the decision be on GPA alone, Ďcause Iím here to tell you GPAs are sometimes inflated as hell. My wife has seen allegedly straight A students crash and burn in college... with many unable to string together a coherent sentence. Her University went test optional a couple of years ago.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 08:33 PM

33. Hmmm....

When I took the SAT....ages ago, I needed a specific score to "qualify" for consideration. Suspected I might have to try a few times....hit it on my first try. And got into a good school.

The score if I recollect was based on the classes you took, grades you got, etc. So that can be subjective.

One algebra teacher had the reputation of giving out the most homework every year and she stated in class "I'm going to keep that reputation". Long story short, I couldn't keep up, particularly with parents who had absolutely no knowledge of algebra. And my brother contracting a debilitating disease that put him in a a long term hospital for six months didn't help either.

Long story short, scraped by with a D and the next year took "Consumer Math"....and promptly aced it. My Junior year I went back to Algebra, with a different instructor and got a B+. Think that says something.

But the ultimate irony in this, after I got accepted and chose the school....I had to take tests again at the University for placement. English/Vocabulary....went straight to the college level.

Math...because I couldn't take all the classes back in high school due to a certain math teacher and her pride...well, I didn't go straight into college level math. But none the less, I did well. I even went into Econ Statistics/Econometrics before I even finished my Gen Ed for Statistics. I aced that class as well and since it included a lab, was frequently tapped to tutor everyone else who was having trouble.

So in retrospect, it the University has their own tests....why not use theirs?

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