Shelby: If you want to get into college you have got to take those fun little tests known as the SAT and ACT, which usually require a whole lot of preparation. But as Demetrius Pipkin tells us, some schools are questioning whether or not those tests really show what a student is capable of.
Demetrius: These hopeful students are touring Pitzer College, a liberal arts school near Los Angeles. Ten years ago, the college stopped requiring applicants to submit test scores for the SAT and the ACT.
Angel Perez: We basically did a study, and what we found is that there was no direct correlation between academic success on our campus and the SAT.
Demetrius: The findings were at the center of a study of more than 100,000 students at 33 colleges that do not require SAT or ACT test scores. It found there was virtually no difference in college performance or graduation rates for students who submitted standardized scores and those who did not.
Hiss: The tests are largely a speed-processing test. They’re not an intelligence test. And there are many, many students who may be brilliant – may be very, very talented – but are not successfully measured by speed processing.
Demetrius: Another one of the biggest criticisms of standardized testing is the idea of teaching to the test. Instead of going in-depth on a subject to actually learn the material, students are cramming the information to help them pass the test, oftentimes forgetting it as soon as the test is over.
Three-point-five million SATs and ACTs, the main standardized tests, were taken last year. Just preparing students for the tests is a $2.4 billion industry. Rob Franek with the Princeton Review, one of the largest test prep companies, says all high schools are different. Colleges need a way to tell the good from the bad.
Rob Franek: The SAT, the ACT and standardized tests in general for a long time have been providing that, albeit in a flawed way in some case, but it is that lever.
Perez: Last year, 70% of the students that we admitted to the freshman class did not submit test scores.
Demetrius: Since dropping the tests, Pitzer has seen a 39% increase in applications, 58% increase in diversity and 8% increase in grade point averages at the college.
Demetrius Pipkin, Channel One News.