The SATs should not be abolished for college admission decisions. Although I believe that they are currently over-utilized as a determining factor for acceptance, they can serve as a standardized way of comparing students from different parts of the country and from widely disparate educational backgrounds. This should be their primary function. High school grade point averages can vary widely depending on the academic standards of the high school. At highly competitive schools, for example, students who get “B” grades would get an “A” at a less competitive school.
Students should enter college with good written, verbal, interpretation, comprehension and mathematical skills. The SATs measure this and give the selection committee a picture of the student’s academic skills, sight unseen, to make a “first cut” decision. To make the “second cut,” decision however, the SAT score should then be compared to the student’s high school grade average, a writing sample, and other measures of a well-rounded student such as extra-curricular activities, clubs and so forth.
There should be recognition that some students do not do well on standardized tests such as the SATs or GREs. We all know these students and suffer with them when we see rejection letter from colleges that over-emphasized the importance of one score, the SAT, come in.
Sophisticated computer programs now allow us to do calculations that can include numerous measures that correlate with success in the classroom…we no longer have to rely on just one score. Colleges and Universities need to live up to their marketing slogans which say they are looking for well-rounded, students of the world applicants. The “smartest” students are not necessarily the best students nor are the “smartest” students the most successful, world changing students.
In the end, colleges need to be good at choosing students who will graduate then move on to become the infrastructure of the educational, business, and scientific world. The SATs tend to exclude poor test-takers who are high achievers in the real world. This is too big a loss to accept. SAT scores, while helpful, are only one way to choose potentially successful college students.