Opinion: The test passes, colleges fail

College administrators who really seek to understand the value of the SAT would do well to learn from the varied experiences of New York’s state university campuses, writes Peter D. Salins, former provost of the State University of New York system, in an op-ed piece for the New York Times. "For some years now, many elite American colleges have been downgrading the role of standardized tests like the SAT in deciding which applicants are admitted, or have even discarded their use altogether," Salins writes. "While some institutions justify this move primarily as a way to enroll a more diverse group of students, an increasing number claim that the SAT is a poor predictor of academic success in college, especially compared with high school grade-point averages. Are they correct?" Salins notes that SUNY campuses are a good indicator, because in the 1990s some chose to raise their admissions standards by requiring higher SAT scores, while others opted to keep them unchanged. "Thus, by comparing graduation rates at SUNY campuses that raised the SAT admissions bar with those that didn’t, we have a controlled experiment of sorts that can fairly conclusively tell us whether SAT scores were accurate predictors of whether a student would get a degree," he writes. "The short answer is: yes, they were…"

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