Tag Archives: standardized tests

No one who knows me or my work would be surprised by my unequivocal endorsement of the value of properly designed and administered standardized tests. Nor would a single soul be shocked by my convictions about the value of the right tests in academic admissions decisions. My support for testing doesn’t spring from my profession as an educator. In fact, the opposite is true. Testing acumen opened access to the kind of high quality high school education most Bronx kids just don’t get. Tests scores also secured special scholarships that made a SUNY degree at least somewhat affordable. My experience is, by no means, unique, but neither is it the narrative we’ve heard about testing over the last several years. The SAT was explicitly introduced to open doors to higher education that were previously closed to certain cultural, religious, and ethnic groups. The SAT and ACT still fulfill that mission,…

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Over nearly thirty years as an educator and much longer than that as someone who had to take tests that mattered, one truth about tests has always been evident: entrance exams to academic institutions have too often been seen as obstacles rather than opportunities. This sentiment continues to surprise me in a society where we value both hard work and winning. After all, admissions tests are, by nature of scarce access to institutions, competitions. What Americans don’t like competitions?! That said, I’ve always excelled at tests, so my opinion may be considered biased. I’m far from the only advocation for good entrance exams, though. I found the unattributed quote below in 2021 and have held it back while searching for authorship. Even without knowing what teenager wrote these words, the message tells us a lot about both the messenger and their fundamental understanding of how the opportunity offered by entrance…

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As we approach another Thanksgiving, thoughts naturally turn to what we feel grateful for. Another way to celebrate is to deeply consider why we should be grateful for those things in life we have to deal with, regardless of how much we like them. Few teens look forward to tests like the SAT and ACT; fewer still actually enjoy them. But do these exams represent a necessary evil or a golden opportunity? Imagine yourself as a high school student eager to attend selective institutions, access prestigious honors programs, or earn enough merit scholarship to defray the ever-rising cost of college. Now think about how you’d feel about your prospects if any or all of the following applied to you: your grades don’t reflect your ability. you suffered some academic setbacks along the way. your excellent grades are undermined by your school’s academic reputation. you couldn’t find enough ways to demonstrate…

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ACT, Inc., the eponymous organization that administers the ACT exam just shared some bleak but terribly unsurprising findings: The national average ACT Composite score for the high school class of 2022 was 19.8, the lowest average score in more than three decades, according to data released today by ACT, the nonprofit organization that administers the college readiness exam. It is the first time since 1991 that the average ACT Composite score was below 20.0. Why doesn’t this admittedly disturbing information come as a shock? Obviously, the learning gap during the global pandemic will continue to manifest for years to come in the form of lower academic achievement. But college readiness has been declining for much longer, as our unacceptable 62.2% national six-year college completion rate shows. Janet Godwin, CEO of ACT, agrees: “This is the fifth consecutive year of declines in average scores, a worrisome trend that began long before…

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The standard school year feels like a long slog, where students begin knowing very little in certain subjects and finish fearing that they’ve learned little more over seven or eight months of instruction. All those culminating exams from finals, APs, and state tests to the SAT and ACT may feel like obstacles in the way of a lovely summer break, but they actually represent critical opportunities to lock in learning and prove that a long year of study was not spent in vain. June is here. Crush the SAT, ACT, and every other test in your way. On the other side lies a long summer with plenty of time to rest, play, and prepare for future challenges!

Is Sal Khan the most respected individual in education today or just one of the most respected individuals in education? The founder of Khan Academy, the gold standard in academic training videos, has done more to “provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere” than, well, anyone, anywhere. While Sal’s been busy launching yet another free academic resource, he recently shared his thoughts on testing, test-optional admissions, and equity in an insightful interview with THE Journal. Here are some of his more salient points along with some editorial commentary: THE Journal: Is the SAT still relevant, now that many colleges and universities have made test scores optional for admission? SK: When I talk to admissions officers, behind closed doors, they will tell you that making tests optional did not remove the need for them to get a signal of college readiness from applicants. The reality is that savvy students continue…

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