Monday, February 26, 2024

Seeing the Light

Poor little lambs who have lost their way with social justice,
diversity, equity, and inclusion, Yale may be returning to
its motto light and truth (lux et veritas)
After a four-year hiatus Yale University is again requiring standardized tests on admission applications. [bold added]
After four years with a test-optional policy that allowed applicants to decide whether or not to submit test scores, Yale will resume requiring scores of all applicants. But it will expand the list of tests that fulfill the requirement to include AP and IB exams in addition to the SAT and ACT.
Dean of undergraduate admissions Jeremiah Quinlan:
we found that test scores have continued to predict academic performance in Yale College. Simply put, students with higher scores have been more likely to have higher Yale GPAs, and test scores are the single greatest predictor of a student’s performance in Yale courses in every model we have constructed.
A similar study by Dartmouth and Brown also showed that test scores were an accurate predictor of college grades, and that applicants who did not submit test scores performed less well.
It found that students who didn’t submit scores earned college grades equivalent to students who earned a 1307 or an ACT of 28. The average scores at highly selective schools generally top 1500 on the SAT and 34 on the ACT.
Dartmouth and Yale are the two Ivies who reinstated standardized testing this month.

When my high-school class sat for the exams a half-century ago, there was a different, undoubtedly naïve, perspective about testing. We were asked to perform the best that we could, but on the other hand we wanted to go to schools that were the right "fit." For example, I knew that my science and math skills weren't sufficient to do well at MIT or Caltech, regardless of my scores.

There was very little advance preparation. Your humble blogger took the SATs, six Achievement tests, and four Advanced Placement exams. Our teachers told us that we couldn't really prepare for the Scholastic Aptitude Tests--and I didn't know anyone who did--but because the ACH and AP tests were presumably based on subject knowledge, I did spend a few hours reviewing textbooks and lecture notes; unlike students today I didn't take practice tests or six-week prep classes or had a tutor.

I did well enough to get into some good schools and ended up going to one where I was in the middle of the pack. The important take-away was that I didn't encounter anyone who didn't have the smarts to do the work, and that I attribute to the testing screens.

It's comforting to know that Yale and Dartmouth have seen the light. Perhaps others will follow.

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