Tag Archives: standards

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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The American public has been anxiously unpacking the implications of the announcement by ACT that that average ACT scores for the high school class of 2022 declined to lowest level in more than 30 years. I recently shared deeper analysis and context for the announcement on this site, but those who enjoyed video to text will enjoy the brief segment on the topic I contributed to on WROC News 8. What conclusions do you draw from declining test scores?

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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The best standardized tests are designed to evaluate agreed-upon skills, standards, and proficiencies. Every test taker benefits from an objective assessment about where they place both in relation to specific benchmarks and the rest of their testing cohort. This post is authored and published by the National Test Prep Association and shared here with permission.

In response to a new re-evaluation of the criteria for popular college rankings, I was moved to write something of a rebuttal on LinkedIn, which is shared in its entirety below. For the sake of our community and the families and educational partners we serve, allow me to add some further thoughts: Our long national obsession with U.S. News & World Report college rankings has become unhealthy and unproductive in the effort to connect students with their best-fit schools. Focusing with tunnel vision on the most selective 100 colleges ignores thousands of potentially better options. Selectivity does not necessarily guarantee either specific educational quality or suitability. Most of my colleagues–educators, school counselors, and educational consultants–care much more about basing school choice on student values, interests, goals, and restraints than which colleges rank highest in easily-gamed lists.   What is Really Wrong with College Rankings? Generation after generation of ambitious college…

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Life throws all kinds of tests at us, the ones we feel ready for as well as the ones we’d rather avoid. Sometimes we can choose our challenges, and sometimes they choose us. More often than we’re willing to admit, the biggest and most fearsome tests turn out to be the ones that change our lives for the better. When Deepak Chopra said, “Obstacles are opportunities in disguise,” he may well have been talking about entrance exams. Many schools and academic programs in the U.S. and around the world use entrance exams as part of their admissions process, not as barriers to entry so much as screens to ensure that extraordinary opportunities accrue to extraordinary applicants. My friend and colleague David Blobaum of Summit Prep sought extraordinary opportunities when he was in high school. To reach his goals, he had to pass all kinds of tests of tenacity, intrinsic motivation,…

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