Western Mass Colleges Make SAT Scores Optional for Admissions | Connecting Point | May 29, 2019

Western Mass Colleges Make SAT Scores Optional for Admissions | Connecting Point | May 29, 2019

November 5, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


>>>SATS — OR STANDARDIZED
APTITUDE TESTS — HAVE LONG BEE REQUIRED BY COLLEGES FOR
ADMISSION, BUT MORE AND MORE COLLEGES ARE MAKING THEM OPTION
IT IS A GREAT RELIEF TO STUDENT WHO HAVE GOOD GRADES, BUT TEND
TO FREEZE ON STANDARDIZED TESTS CAROLEE MCGRATH SAT DOWN WITH
STUART JONES, V.P. OF ENROLLMEN
AT SPRINGFIELD COLLEGE WHICH RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THE TESTS
WILL BE OPTIONAL FOR STUDENTS ENTERING COLLEGE IN 2020, AND
KERRY COLE, V.P. OF ADMISSIONS
AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE WHICH WENT SAT OPTIONAL A FEW
YEARS AGO, TO FIND OUT MORE.>>THERE’S BEEN A NATIONAL
TREND TO GET AWAY FROM THE SAT’S, I THINK A LOT OF
SCHOOLS LIKE OURSELVES AND SPRINGFIELD, WE ARE HESITANT
TO DO SO, BECAUSE IT’S A GREAT INDICATOR OR HAD BEEN KNOWN TO
BE A GREAT INDICATER TO ASSESS STUDENTS AND HOW THEY CAN
PERFORM IN THE CLASSROOM, TAKING OUT LOCATIONS AND HIGH
SCHOOLS AND DIFFERENT FACTORS. AND SO WHEN WE LOOKED AT IT,
WE DID A LOT OF RESEARCH, AND WE LOOKED AT OUR CONSULTING
COMPANIES WE WORKED WITH, WE WORKED WITH A LOT OF COLLEGE
DATA THAT WAS AVAILABLE BY OUR NATIONAL ACCREDITING BODIES
AND SOME REGIONAL GROUPS WE WORKED WITH. AND WHAT THEY WERE FINDING, IT
WASN’T ALWAYS AN INDICATOR OF BETTER PERFORMANCE IN
COLLEGE. WE MET AS A GROUP AND SAID,
WHAT ARE AIC STUDENTS DOING. IS IT AN INDICATOR AND A
FACTOR FOR OUR STUDENTS TO BE SUCCESSFUL. WE LOOKED BACK AT YEARS WORTH
OF DATA. WHAT IT CAME DOWN TO WAS THAT
AIC STUDENTS IN GENERAL, THE SAT’S WERE NOT AN INDICATOR OF
SUCCESS. THAT THE GPA WAS MUCH MORE
INDICATIVE OF HOW A STUDENT WOULD DO IN COLLEGE THAN THE
SAT’S. AFTER MUCH DISCUSSION
INTERNALLY, WE DECIDED TO FOREGO SAT’S.>>IT WAS IN 2017, THE
INCOMING CLASS?>>THE INCOMING CLASS,
CORRECT.>>SO SPRINGFIELD COLLEGE, YOU
RECENTLY MADE THIS DECISION FOR THE INCOMING CLASS OF
2020.>>2020.>>WAS IT SIMILAR REASONING?>>YES, VERY MUCH SO. WE PARALLEL A LOT WITH AIC IN
THE SCOPE OF THE WORK THAT WE DID TO RESEARCH OVER THREE
YEARS. TO LOOK AT THE NATIONAL
TRENDS, WHY WERE COLLEGES DISMISSING OR MAKING IT BECOME
TEST OPTIONAL FOR STUDENTS TO DO. WITH OUR STRATEGIC PLAN, WE
WANT TO — LIKE MANY COLLEGES, WE WANTED TO MAKE SURE
EVERYTHING WE DO IS MISSION FOCUSED AND VALUE BASED AND
BECAME CONCERNED ABOUT THE GROWING TREND OF WHY COLLEGES
WERE DOING AWAY. I AGREE ABSOLUTELY WITH CARRY,
THE RESEARCH POINTS TO SOMETIMES THE TEST IS VERY —
IT DISADVANTAGES STUDENTS, ESPECIALLY UNDERREPRESENTED
POPULATIONS. WE, LIKE AIC, WANT TO BE A
COLLEGE THAT’S EQUAL OPPORTUNITY. WE WANT TO MAKE SURE OUR DOORS
ARE OPEN TO ANY STUDENT WHO REALLY DOES HAVE THE ABILITY
TO SUCCEED AT COLLEGE, WE FELT LIKE, AFTER MUCH RESEARCH, THE
TESTS REALLY WERE NOT THE BEST INDICATOR OF A STUDENT’S
POTENTIAL SUCCESS IN THE CLASSROOM. THE GPA REALLY IS AND WHAT WE
CALL NONCOGNITIVE VARIABLES, LIKE A WRITTEN ESSAY OR
ADMISSIONS INTERVIEW ARE FAR MORE IMPORTANT LOOKING AT A
STUDENT. WE FOLLOWED SUIT AFTER A
NATIONAL TREND, APPROXIMATELY, ACCORDING TO FAIR TEST,
APPROXIMATELY 40 PERCENT OF COLLEGES NOW, FOUR-YEAR
COLLEGES ACROSS THE COUNTRY HAVE DONE THIS. WE MIGHT BE A LITTLE BIT LATE
TO THE GAME, IT WAS IMPORTANT FOR US TO COME TO THAT
LEVELING OF THE PLAYING FIELD FOR STUDENTS.>>I KNOW NOT JUST KIDS MIGHT
HAVE A LEARNING DISABILITY OR LOW INCOME OR DISADVANTAGED IN
ANY WAY, TEST-TAKING FOR SO MANY PEOPLE IS JUST SO
NERVE-RACKING AND PEOPLE GO IN WITH THE HIGH ANXIETY. THEY’LL HAVE A 4.2GPA AND JUST
BOMB THAT SAT.>>WE HAVE SEEN IT’S FOR YEARS
IT’S BEEN FRUSTRATING FOR STUDENTS AND PARENTS. I’M SURE YOU’VE BEEN HEARING
THAT.>>ABSOLUTELY. YOU CAN CHIME IN ON THIS TOO. IT’S NOT ALWAYS THE BEST
INDICATOR, ALL RESEARCH SHOWS THAT FOUR YEARS OF HIGH
SCHOOL, PERFORMANCE ACADEMICALLY IN THE CLASSROOM
IS THE BEST INDICATOR WITH A STUDENT.>>ONE TEST AND SPEND ALL
DAY.>>THREE HOURS.>>ON THE STUDYING. HOW DO YOU STRIP DOWN THE
GPA. FROM SCHOOL TO SCHOOL, IF YOU
HAVE KIDS APPLYING FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, 4.2 IN ONE
SPOT MIGHT NOT MEAN THE SAME THING IN ANOTHER LOCATION. LARGELY BECAUSE SOME SCHOOLS
OFFER MORE AP CLASSES FROM THE GET-GO AT FRESHMAN YEAR, SOME
SCHOOLS DON’T.>>WE DO A VARIETY OF
DIFFERENT CALCULATIONS IN OUR OFFICE. WE’LL LOOK AT THE WEIGHTED GPA
WHICH INCLUDES THE A AND AND HONORS COURSES. WE LOOK AT UNWEIGHTED GPA AND
DO TREND ANALYSIS, A STUDENT COMING IN WHO MAY HAVE HAD
SOME ISSUES IN THEIR EARLY YEARS IN HIGH SCHOOL, BUT BY
JUNIOR OR SENIOR YEAR, THEY ARE REALLY BUCKLING DOWN,
PULLING IT TOGETHER, THEY MAY HAVE AN OVERALL GPA OF A 2.5,
I THINK IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT TO LOOK AT TREND ANALYSIS. SO WE’LL DO AN ANALYSIS OF THE
LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, MANY COLLEGES REQUIRE FOR STUDENTS
TO COMPLETE A SET GROUPING OF CORE COURSES, FOUR ENGLISHES,
3 TO 4 SCIENCES, COUPLE OF LAB SCIENCES, DEPENDING ON THE
PROGRAM, IT MAY DETERMINE WHAT IS ROCKY MOUNTAINED FOR A
STUDENT COMING IN. WE DO A CORE ANALYSIS. SO OUR ADMISSIONS TEAM, THEY
ARE GOOD AT EXCEL, AND THEY’RE REALLY GOOD AT GPA
CALCULATIONS, WE ARE TRYING TO GET A WHOLE PICTURE OF HOW THE
STUDENT WILL BE SUCCESSFUL. WHEN IN THE PAST WE DID ONE OR
TWO CALCULATIONS, NOW WE DO MANY MORE.>>THE SAT’S WILL BE REQUIRED
FOR CERTAIN MAJORS, TELL US ABOUT THOSE MAJORS AND WHY YOU
THOUGHT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO KEEP THAT TEST IN PLACE?>>IT’S IMPORTANT FOR
ACCREDITING OR LICENSURE PURPOSES. ACCREDITING BODIES WILL
REQUIRE US, LIKE IN THE HEALTH SCIENCES PROGRAM, WHICH WE ARE
WELL KNOWN FOR, PHYSICIANS ASSISTANT, PHYSICAL THERAPY,
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY, ATHLETIC TRAINING AND LICENSURE,
TEACHER EDUCATION, ALL OF THOSE ACCREDITING BODIES AND
LICENSURE PROCESSES STILL ARE GOING TO REQUIRE THAT WE AS AN
INSTITUTION SUBMIT OR HAVE STUDENTS SUBMIT THE SAT AND
ACT. THAT’S WHY WE HAVE TO CONTINUE
WITH THOSE FIVE PROGRAMS.>>SOME PEOPLE MIGHT SAY, TOO,
LISTEN, I KNOW IT’S HARD TO TAKE THE SAT’S, BUT YOU JUST
HAVE TO TOUGHEN UP ABOUT IT. LIFE IS ABOUT TESTING, YOU
HAVE TO GET OVER IT. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEONE
WHO SAYS IT’S A BAD IDEA TO TAKE THAT OFF THE TABLE?>>ONE OF THE THINGS WE HAVE
TO CLARIFY ABOUT BECOMING TEST OPTIONAL IS THE WORD
UNDERSCORED, WE WILL ENCOURAGE AND OUR WEBSITE EXPLAINS AND
COMMUNICATES, STUDENTS ARE WELCOME TO SUBMIT TEST SCORES,
IF THEY’VE TAKEN THEM, MOST WILL TAKE IT, THEY MAY FEEL
REALLY PROUD THAT IS A GREAT INDICATOR OF THEIR ACADEMIC
ABILITY BECAUSE THEIR GPA MIGHT NOT SHINE AS BRIGHTLY. TEST SCORES ARE BRILLIANT, GPA
NOT, SO WE WILL ENCOURAGE THEM TO SUBMIT THEM AND WILL
CONSIDER TEST SCORES IF A STUDENT WANTS US TO. WE BELIEVE FIRMLY NOW, WITHOUT
A SHADOW OF A DOUBT, GPA IS THE BEST INDICATOR OF A
STUDENTS’S POTENTIAL IN COLLEGE.>>WE THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE
HAVE LOST FAITH IN THE SYSTEM IN A CERTAIN DEGREE BECAUSE OF
THE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS SCAM. EVERYBODY KNOWS TAKING THE
SAT’S, UNLESS YOU’RE THAT KID WHO JUST HAD — WHAT CAN JUST
TAKE IT IS REALLY HARD, I THINK WHEN PEOPLE LOOK AT
APPLYING TO COLLEGE, IT CAN BE OVERWHELMING FOR PARENTS, BUT
ESPECIALLY FOR STUDENTS AS WELL. THIS KIND OF TAKES THAT OFF
THE TABLE AND STRIPS DOWN KIND OF WHERE THE KIDS ARE REALLY
AT ACADEMICALLY, CORRECT?>>IT ABSOLUTELY DOES. I THINK THAT BOTH OF OUR
INSTITUTIONS, SPRINGFIELD AND AIC OUR ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO BE
A SUCCESS, NOBODY FINDS JOY IN A STUDENT NOT BEING SUCCESSFUL
IN COLLEGE, THAT’S NOT WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO, WE FIND JOY ON
SATURDAY FOR US AT GRADUATION, I’LL BE SITTING ON STAGE AND
BEING FILLED WITH SO MUCH EMOTION AND EXCITEMENT FOR OUR
STUDENTS WALKING ACROSS THE STAGE. I THINK IF WE CAN TAKE A
BURDEN OFF A STUDENT WHICH REALLY WASN’T A FACTOR FOR
INSTITUTIONS FOR SUCCESS, THEN WE SHOULD DO THAT. IT’S IMPORTANT. SO I THINK THAT YOU’LL SEE
MORE AND MORE SCHOOLS DOING THAT THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.>>HUNDREDS OF SCHOOLS ACROSS
THE COUNTRY, I THINK YOU SAID 40 PERCENT, WHICH IS REALLY
INTERESTING.>>FAIR TEST.ORG, THE NATIONAL
ORGANIZATION THAT TALKS ABOUT SAT AND ACT, IS ESTIMATING
OVER 1,000 NOW, THERE ARE 2500 FOUR-YEAR INSTITUTIONS ACROSS
THE UNITED STATES. IT IS ABSOLUTELY A GROWING
TREND, FOR SURE.