Colleges and universities are rethinking the standardized test as a predictor of college success. Now, they want to know more about the applicant, as a person, and not just their test taking skills.
Gabe Doyle isn't stressing over standardized test scores as he considers colleges. "If you're not great at testing, then you're not great at testing," he said. "I'd say it doesn't really define how smart you are."
It helps that Doyle knows several of the schools he wants to attend are playing down the importance of the ACT and the SAT.
Bob Schaeffer at FairTest.org said, "Over the past decade, about 110 more bachelor-degree-granting institutions have dropped their test score requirements, and that includes some of the most competitive schools in the country."
Schools are adding special questionnaires to help them figure out who has what it takes to finish a four-year degree. The aim is to measure perseverance, adaptability and judgment.
"You're assigned to work in a group on a particular project, and when you sit down together and nobody says anything, what are you mst and least likely to do?" said Neal Schmitt, PhD at MSU's department of Psychology. "A bad option is to look at them until somebody eventually says something. A good option is to get to know everybody first and make sure the projects goals are understood by everyone.”
The answers help give the school a better feel for the kind of person applying. "If they really do badly on our situational judgment measure, the attribution might be that the person isn't that mature interpersonally, and really doesn't know what the academic scene might be like, and so we might hesitate, Schmitt said.
FairTest.org says this evaluation helps level the playing field for students who might not be able to afford tutoring to improve their test scores. Doyle will be taking the standardized tests, but his mother said she likes knowing additional elements will be used to decide whether he's accepted.
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