College & Workforce Readiness Letter to the Editor

SAT Commentary Misses the Mark

August 06, 2012 1 min read

To the Editor:

Like many pieces written by faith-based proponents of high-stakes testing, the Commentary by Jonathan Wai ignores readily available facts to make ideologically motivated arguments.

Mr. Wai, who works for a program that relies heavily on standardized-exam scores to identify “gifted and talented” students, argues that, of the “over 200,000” students who took the SAT as 7th graders, “a majority of them will likely reach within 100 to 200 points of a perfect score.” However, data published by the College Board, the SAT’s owner, show that just over 7,000 test-takers in the high school class of 2011 scored above 2300, and 25,500 nationally reached the 2200 score level.

These much-lower numbers undercut Mr. Wai’s claim that undergraduate-admissions offices need a “harder” test to select among those with top scores. Moreover, the measurement uncertainty in SAT results, as in other tests, is huge.

The College Board cautions admissions officers that gaps of as much as 130 points in the combined, three-part score do not necessarily reflect “true differences in ability.”

In fact, neither the SAT nor any other test is necessary to run a high-quality, selective admissions program. More than 850 accredited, bachelor’s-degree-granting colleges, including 140 ranked in the top tiers of their respective categories, now have test-score-optional policies for all or many applicants.

The real issue is not how to make the SAT harder, but why it should be required at all.

Bob Schaeffer

Public Education Director

National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest)

Boston, Mass.

A version of this article appeared in the August 08, 2012 edition of Education Week as SAT Commentary Misses the Mark


Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Engaging Young Students to Accelerate Math Learning
Join learning scientists and inspiring district leaders, for a timely panel discussion addressing a school district’s approach to doubling and tripling Math gains during Covid. What started as a goal to address learning gaps in
Content provided by Age of Learning & Digital Promise, Harlingen CISD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

College & Workforce Readiness College Enrollment Dip Hits Students of Color the Hardest
The pandemic led to a precipitous decline in enrollment for two-year schools, while four-year colleges and universities held steady.
3 min read
Conceptual image of blocks moving forward, and one moving backward.
College & Workforce Readiness Letter to the Editor How We Can Improve College-Completion Rates
Early- and middle-college high schools have the potential to improve college completion rates, says this letter to the editor.
1 min read
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion There’s Insurance for Homes or Cars—Why Not College Degrees?
Rick Hess talks with Wade Eyerly, the CEO of Degree Insurance, about the company's plan to make investing in a college degree less risky.
7 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness Fewer Students in Class of 2020 Went Straight to College
First-year college enrollment dropped steeply last year, a study finds, and the declines were sharpest among poorer students.
6 min read
Image shows University Application Acceptance Notification Letter with ACCEPTED Stamp