University looks beyond test scores for admissions

Recent NPR and Washington Post articles report that George Washington University will no longer require the SAT or ACT for applicants. GWU, one of the top private universities in the country, expects the move to increase the diversity among its applicants.

Though potentially controversial, viewing entrance exams as optional is not new. In fact, a study published in February 2014 examined optional standardized testing policies and found that these policies offer students greater access to higher education.  This finding was especially true among first-generation college students.  A PBS article and FairTest also report that nearly 850 higher education institutions consider SAT and ACT optional; however, some of these institutions use entrance exam scores for academic advising or placement, and others require the tests for particular programs of study.

Sources: NPR, Washington Post


Article questions harms on dev ed students

Are remedial courses actually hurting community college students?

That is the question asked in a Washington Post article by the same name. The article cites research by former Assistant Director, Katherine L. Hughes, and current Senior Research Associate, Judith Scott-Clayton of the Community College Research Center. In the 2011 article, the role of assessments in community colleges were explored—most notably the COMPASS and ACCUPLACER placement exams.  Study findings indicated that while the exams were reasonably valid in predicting students’ performance in developmental math, the same could not be said for reading or writing courses.  The authors suggested that community colleges seek alternative approaches to assessment and placement, which could translate into improvements in student outcomes.  Some colleges in California, Maryland, and Washington have done just that by giving high school juniors the opportunity to prepare early for placement tests.

Source: Washington Post