The SAT: King of College Selection Criteria?

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A plus grade in the notebook

IN today’s WSJ Opinion section, the writers tried to convince readers that due to rampant grade inflation at the high school level, using the SAT is an absolute requirement (the only one left?) for selection of aspiring college applicants. They try to make a case by pulling random data and quotes to justify the precipitous decline in a student’s college preparedness attributing it to a massive inflation of the academic GPA. The writers conclusion seems to advocate or even insist that admissions officers must rely mainly on standardized test results to insure their chances of recruiting an optimal incoming class.

In my opinion this piece, which casts doubt’s on students’ academic chops, is in and of itself a less than stellar example of critical thinking. To place blame ONLY on grade inflation is short sighted; to direct the solution at a less than reliable and controversial solution (the SAT) is irresponsible, over-simplistic and misleading (in fairness they do skewer the new SAT). The piece MAINLY launches an attack on the COLLEGES saying, “College is where grade inflation really takes off.” They use carefully chosen quotes from academics who feel compelled to give-in to grade inflation pressure.

Okay, but how does this relate to their original focus on the SAT and college admission? If you look at the Fair Test organization which includes hundreds of fine colleges and universities that are test optional or do not require the testing at all, it might astound the writers to find that they are filling their classrooms with bright, highly capable students-thank you very much! Quite frankly I’m baffled as to why the WSJ bothered to publish this piece. I would be hard pressed to give it a passing grade even if the editorial board put pressure on me!


About the Author:

Chip Law
Chip Law is an IECA Professional Member and an Educational Consultant located in Charleston, South Carolina. He helps students and adults define their career path and refine their approach to the job market.