A commission convened by some of the country’s most influential college admissions officials is recommending that colleges and universities move away from their reliance on SAT and ACT scores and shift toward admissions exams more closely tied to the high school curriculum and achievement, reports the New York Times. The commission’s report, the culmination of a yearlong study led by William R. Fitzsimmons, the dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard, comes amid growing concerns that the frenzy over standardized college admissions tests is misshaping secondary education and feeding a billion-dollar test-prep industry that encourages students to try to game the tests. A growing number of colleges and universities, like Bates College in Maine, Lawrence University in Wisconsin, Wake Forest University in North Carolina, and Smith College in Massachusetts, have made the SAT and ACT optional. And the report concludes that more institutions could make admissions decisions without requiring the SAT and ACT. It encourages institutions to consider dropping admission test requirements unless they can prove that the benefits of such tests outweigh the negatives. “It would be much better for the country,” Fitzsimmons said, “to have students focusing on high school courses that … will prepare them well for college and also prepare them well for the real world beyond college, instead of their spending enormous amounts of time trying to game the SAT.” Fitzsimmons’s group also expresses concerns “that test scores appear to calcify differences based on class, race/ethnicity, and parental educational attainment…”

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