The SAT Test Under Seige

More bad news for the dreaded SAT test.

The number of colleges and universities making the SAT or ACT optional continues to grow. In a new survey from, more than 775 colleges no longer require most students to submit scores from either standardized test.

What’s more, a high-powered panel led by William R. Fitzsimmons, who oversees Harvard’s admission office, has released its

The report, which you can access here (link no longer available), encourages colleges and universities to ditch the SAT or ACT as a requirement if they can make good admission decisions without the tests. There are plenty of schools, which abandoned the tests years ago, that have proven this is possible.

Even the College Board, which owns the SAT, has acknowledged that grades rather than the SAT is a better predictor of college success.

“We want to get the word out more clearly than before that tests should not be used in a rigid way,” Fitzsimmons said in an interview with The Chronicle of Higher Education. “A couple of decades ago, people associated testing results with so-called ability. We have come to a clearer understanding that those scores have more to do with opportunities.”

Ironically, while the panel, which included experts from around the country, was hard on the SAT, Fitzsimmons did not appear ready to abandon the test at his school.

In the Chronicle interview, Fitzsimmons had this to say in defending Harvard’s use of the standardized test:

“We want to give people as many opportunities as possible to show what they can do, particularly when we don’t know everything about their high schools.”


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  1. Hello Guru, what entice you to post an article. This article was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last night.

  2. Journalists might also want to investigate the role of the College Board in helping to judge the annual Siemens Science competition, especially their role in the 2004 debacle and the possibility that politics might have played a role in last year’s “all girls win” competition. It seems to me that the the winners of this competition are chosen as much for their ‘telegenic’ appeal and ability to get lots of free press coverage, as they are for their pure scientific achievements. Also, isn’t this College Board judged competition, biased in favor of well-connected and affluent students who have access to academic mentors and university facilities?