Just received a comment from “Matt” on our Times They Are A Changin’ post. It is quite long so I’ll post an excerpt here. You can get Matt’s entire comment by clicking the link below.
It is readily apparent that lesser universities are against the SAT primarily because it is an objective measure of the students admitted to a given university. Scores of second rate colleges would love nothing more than to bolster their claims that they annually admit a student body that is equivalently bright to those at the elite universities. The fact is that they donâ€™t. They canâ€™t. Quite simply, they cannot attract the same interest from students with SAT scores that qualify them for the elite universities. How can these lower-tier colleges demonstrate that they are viable options for the top ranking students? They canâ€™t. Instead, they propose the â€œsolutionâ€? of destroying the best objective standard of student merit. Equally insidious, they propose that we replace this objective standard with a fuzzy â€œholisticâ€? approach to student admissions. It should be apparent to everyone that this argument is inherently biased to benefit lesser institutions by destroying an objective hierarchy that threatens the self-esteem of admissions counselors at good (but not great) universities.
See the rest by clicking here.
First, I’d like to say thanks to Matt for commenting. We always appreciate open dialog on the Admissions Blog. I’ll (try to) keep my comments brief:
1) to your charge that the movement towards holistic admission is being pushed by lesser schools (your definition of which, I’m not sure of) see the quote that leads the Newsweek article from William Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions and Financial at Harvard:
‘Society likes to think that the SAT measures people’s ability or merit. But no one in college admissions who visits the range of secondary schools we visit, and goes to the communities we visit – where you see the contrast between opportunities and fancy suburbs and some of the high schools that aren’t so fancy – can come away thinking that standardized tests can be a measure of someone’s true worth or ability.”
Also, you should know, this new wave of discussion is being generated, in part, by the College Board. They’re now saying (and have been saying for some time) that the SAT is not the best measure for predicting college success.
2) Your claim that the SAT is the most objective measure available: The evidence is overwhelming that there is a bias against students from first generation, poor and/or minority backgrounds. Nobody’s saying the SAT or ACT are useless, it’s just that they don’t come close to painting the picture.
3) Calling the holistic admissions movement “insidious” is hyperbole in every sense of the word. an insidious effort implies the intent to deceive combined with the intent to harm. Do you really believe that schools pushing towards a holistic view of college admissions have insidious intent?
4) It appears that your general argument revolves around charging schools moving towards holistic admission like Oregon State, University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan, University of Washington, Washington State University, Harvard Law and many others that are trying to level the playing field with actually disadvantaging “privileged” students. It should be obvious that students who attend private or elite public schools and can afford to hire folks who help them prepare for college have some pretty nice advantages already.
5) I do not appreciate your attempt to marginalize the students not in the Ivy league universities or other top ranked schools as inferior. I will assume you are, in part, referring to our students as we are pushing toward holistic admissions thus we must be, according to your argument, second rate. Come meet our students, talk with them instead of just brushing them off as “the rest”. But isn’t that the point? We are talking about real students here; Not just the top 5%. Ivy League institutions will, on average, admit 10-11% of their applicants. Are you really asserting that the rest of those students are second rate? Lesser perhaps?
Thanks again for your comments, Matt. I hope you will take my comments as civil. While I do not intend to offend or anger, I DO intend to wholly, but respectfully, disagree.
Anyone else have thoughts or comments? Love to hear from ya!