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ERIC Number: EJ846741
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May-15
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
The Russian Roulette of SAT Scores
Teare, Chris
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n36 pA27 May 2009
The author's school is a founding member of the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools, which includes all sorts of institutions--some in highly affluent communities, others with vastly more socioeconomically diverse populations, and some with strong percentages of international students. Individual members' approaches to admissions issues vary: Some pitch in on College Board committees to make Score Choice work, while others refer to the College Board as "the Death Star" for what they regard as the onerous, expensive, and debilitating effects its "services" have on students. Somewhere in the middle are colleagues who think the SAT Reasoning Test is the core problem because it serves only the colleges--providing a no-cost way to winnow applicant pools--while doing nothing to test students on specific prerequisite knowledge that will be essential for further study. If there is one thing that all members of their association agree upon and want to see, however, it is total, forthright disclosure by colleges and universities about exactly how they will play the testing cards that come into their possession. Right now, students cannot always say for sure how committees will use their scores. Until colleges and universities are totally transparent and scrupulously consistent in their practices, students will have reason to believe that the game they're playing might be rigged by a house intent on complete control. While one can think of SAT scores as cards to be played, held close, or discarded in this high-stakes game of admissions poker, the feeling that some students can have is closer to that of Russian roulette--where one chamber of the revolver holds a single low score that can end an application's life. What individuals who care for kids under pressure every day are hoping to accomplish is some greater clarity, consistency, predictability, and fairness in a system that is too often fraught with misunderstanding, obfuscation, and worrying levels of unnecessary anxiety. If admissions committees would make all testing practices crystal clear to all constituents, and follow them without exception--in essence, always dealing from the top of the deck--it would be a big step toward a better game.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: SAT (College Admission Test)