College admissions tests are holding students back

Businessweek: The SAT

“…college applicants should also be asked to demonstrate their creativity, practical intelligence, and even wisdom, qualities which are in shorter supply than cleverness. “If you look at why this country is so screwed up,” he says, “it’s not because the people running it have low SATs.”

“Designed to ferret out hidden talent, the tests have become, for some students at least, barriers to higher education. Scores are highly correlated with family income; Harvard law professor Lani Guinier calls the SAT a “wealth test.” “

“Admissions officers at about 850 four-year colleges now make standardized tests optional for some or all of their applicants, according to FairTest, a nonprofit watchdog.”

“Imagine if hospitals evaluated incoming patients the way colleges evaluate applicants: Only the healthiest cases would be admitted.”

“Sternberg, the formerly stupid first-grader, wound up running the University of Wyoming this fall after academic postings at Yale, Tufts, and Oklahoma State. At all three schools his research showed that measuring students’ creativity and practicality could predict their college success better than plain SAT scores could. The message: Real life is messy. You’re not given five answers to choose from. And America shouldn’t depend on something resembling an IQ test to rake geniuses from the rubbish.”

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