Dartmouth should reinstate its standardized testing requirement.
For Dartmouth’s Classes of 2025, 2026 and 2027, the admissions office has instituted a “test-optional” policy, in which applicants may choose whether to submit standardized test scores as part of their application, but will not be penalized if they do not. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions’ website claims that “it is not the moment to restore the testing requirement” due to the pandemic. Recently, standardized testing has come under fire for two different reasons: access and equity. But these attacks do not hold up under scrutiny. exact advancements in public health and technology, as well as extensive research, all show that these arguments are either inaccurate or wholly unfounded. Ultimately, Dartmouth will be less able to accept students who will succeed academically if it stays test-optional. The College should once again require applicants to submit standardized test scores.
From an admissions perspective, these tests. are a strong indicator of future academic success. This predictive ability is why another top university reversed course on its testing requirement earlier this year: as of March, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology began requiring standardized test scores as part of its application for the class of 2027 and beyond. MIT stated that it could not reliably predict how a student would do academically unless it considered standardized test results as part of the student’s application. MIT’s dean of admissions even explained that by considering SAT and ACT scores, the school actually increased admissions from socioeconomically disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.
The first main argument against standardized tests — lack of access — is more easily addressed. During the pandemic, many opportunities to take the test were canceled due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Now that most pandemic restrictions have subsided, students are again able to take these tests. Widespread vaccinations, the expansion of the free in-school SAT and the advent of the digital SAT have all overcome these roadblocks to access that students may have faced during the last few years.
But addressing the second main argument, equity, is more difficult. Critics have labeled the test a racist perpetrator of structural inequalities in the American education system. There are two main kinds of disparities contributing to this accusation: disparities caused by wealth and by race. Access to outside coaching, more rigorous schools and more supportive environments have all been targeted as unfair factors leading to certain students being better equipped to take these tests.
Regarding disparities caused by wealth, wealthier students who can pay for outside test prep and coaching do not score much better than those who cannot afford to do so. Coaching only has a small positive effect on the SAT, resulting in about a 10-to-20-point total improvement, concentrated mostly in the math section. The effects of coaching are minimal, and far less than what major commercial test preparation companies claim to achieve.
Nor do standardized test scores follow income distribution. Studies have demonstrated that when considered together, an applicant’s SAT score and high school GPA are a more accurate predictor of future academic performance than either one on their own. Even when controlling for the socioeconomic status of test-takers, the SAT maintains this accuracy, implicitly showing that SAT results are not just a reflection of socioeconomic status.
The second component of the inequality equation is race. Standardized tests show disparities across races and ethnicities in test results. As a whole, white and Asian-American students score higher on standardized tests than Black and Hispanic students. These gaps in scores are not a cause of systemic inequality, but rather a result of it. Instead, social, economic and cultural factors all play a role in causing this distinction. In getting rid of standardized tests, we remove one more indicator of that gap, which erases one more signal of the inequalities that we should address instead.
Finally, according to the dean of admissions at MIT, standardized tests are more objective compared to other means of evaluating a student and can increase the admission of disadvantaged applicants. Well-off applicants can pay for outside essay coaches (and in some cases, essay writers). A perfect score on a test is a better measurement of scholastic aptitude than your ability to write an essay that can entertain a random admissions officer for seven to eight minutes. A bright but underprivileged student may not be able to found a nonprofit or go on a mission trip to Nicaragua, but they can take the SAT.
While the move by the College’s admissions office to go test-optional for three years makes some sense in light of the pandemic, any further adoption of this policy will hurt Dartmouth in the long run. Progress in public health and technological advancements have made it safer and more accessible for students to take standardized tests than in past years when the pandemic ran rampant. Standardized tests are accurate predictors of future academic success, even when controlling for the socioeconomic background of applicants. Nor are these tests the relics of white supremacy their opponents paint them as, for Asian-American students, rather than white ones, score highest on it. Dartmouth should make the move that will best position it — and its student body — for success in the long run by reinstating its testing requirement for future classes.
Timothy Porter is an Army veteran of 10 years. He achieved the rank of Sergeant First Class within 7 years. After being involved in a bomb explosion, Porter was medically retired and began pursuing his passion: technology. In 2009, after teaching himself how to develop mobile apps, Appddiction Studio was formed. In 2011, Appddiction Studio was nationally recognized by the USA Network Channel. Porter was one of their USA Character Unite Award winners for developing an award-winning anti-bullying App for schools. Appddiction Studio has developed well over 200 commercial mobile apps and has become a leader in Enterprise transformations focusing on Agile and the SAFe Framework.
Porter has multiple degrees in Management Information Systems and holds an MBA. He is an SPC and RTE and has performed roles for Appddiction Studio as Scaled program Consultant, Enterprise Coach & Trainer, Agile Coach, Release Train Engineer to Scrum Master. Appddiction Studio has been performing for programs supporting Gunter AFB as a Prime Contractor in: Agile Coaching, EODIMS JST & EODIMS Backlog Burndown and now as a subcontractor on ACES FoS.
Porter has taught over 50 public/private SAFe classes and has submitted his packet for consideration to become SPCT Gold Partner. He is certified at all levels of SAFe Framework and teaches Leading SAFe, SAFe Scrum Master, Advanced Scrum Master, Lean Portfolio Management, Product Owner/Product Management, SAFe DevOps, SAFe Architect in addition to Agile courses like ICAgile Agile Fundamentals, ICAgile Agile Team Facilitation, ICAgile Agile Programming & ICAgile DevOps Foundations.
Established in 1993, the Scholastic Enhancement Program (SEP) is an admission-based program designed to provide support to select student populations as they attend Miami University and work toward completing their degree. Our goal is to provide each incoming SEP student with personalized academic support and a tailored study plan - all with the goal of ensuring their academic success during their first few semesters at college.
Each SEP student is assigned an RLC staff member as an Advisor. SEP advisors meet with students weekly to work on such subjects as:
The success of the SEP program is demonstrated by the fact that SEP was honored with a Retention Excellence Award from USA Group Noel-Levitz ®, a nationally recognized consulting firm specializing in higher education enrollment management, financial aid and student retention.
The Rinella Learning Center and the Scholastic Enhancement Program provide academic and personal guidance for targeted students to ensure their completion of a degree through coordinated programs and services in cooperation with faculty and staff campus wide.
This seminar-style course is an intentional and integrated effort to provide Clarkson University students with best-in-class career guidance, academic support, wellness monitoring, and curricular advisement where students can make meaningful decisions regarding curricular and co-curricular experiences in a health manner. This is a collaborative effort across multiple Clarkson University departments designed to help students become well-rounded and better prepared for their professional job search, make confident academic major choices, have a better understanding of post-graduate career options, and learn about managing a work-life balance as their academic career becomes more rigorous. The course aims to provide a supportive mechanism in addition to academic advising for further soft-skill development, resilient behaviors, and exploration (major, career, personal, etc.).
Throughout the course students will engage in activities designed to develop professional competencies, to prepare practical career-related documents, develop appropriate course schedules, and learn how to maximize academic advisor appointments. Students will also participate in multiple engagement opportunities with Alumni to encourage job shadowing, career research, and professional connections. All students will leave the course with customized job-search documents including a cover letter, demo networking notes, and a professional LinkedIn profile.
Technological compensation can be made of disabilities in certain of these areas, but a candidate should be able to perform certain basic functions in a reasonably independent manner. The use of a trained intermediary to observe or interpret information or to perform procedures is deemed to compromise the essential function of the physician and may jeopardize the safety of the patient. The six areas of abilities/skills are detailed as follows:
Observation: The candidate must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences. A candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensation. It is enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.
Communication: A candidate should be able to speak, to receive information in oral form, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, to describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and to perceive non-verbal communications. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively with patients. Communication includes not only speech, but also practicing and writing. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively, efficiently and rapidly, when required, in oral and written form with patients and with all members of the health care team.
Motor: Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. A candidate should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Such examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of physicians include but are not limited to cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medication, application of pressure to stop bleeding opening of obstructed airways, suturing of a simple wound, and performance of simple obstetrical maneuvers.
Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving, the clinical skills demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities.
Behavioral and Social Attributes: A candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties and ambiguities inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that should be assessed during the admissions and education processes.
Ethical Standards: A candidate must demonstrate professional demeanor and behavior, and must perform in an ethical manner in all dealing with peers, faculty, staff and patients.
In determining the minimum standards for completion of the medical school curriculum, certain disabilities can be accommodated without sacrificing the standards required by the school or the integrity of the curriculum. The school is committed to development of competitive and qualified disabled candidates.
At the same time, the school recognizes the essential need to preserve the standards and integrity of curriculum requisite for the competent and effective physician. Since the treatment of patients is an essential part of the educational program, the health and safety of those patients must be protected at all costs.
Dear Friends of Ohio State:
A year has passed since the Supreme Court of the United State handed down its decisions in two cases related to admissions policies and procedures at the University of Michigan. We were very pleased when the Court affirmed the principle that race and ethnicity can be considered along with other factors when a college makes admissions decisions. However, to be in full compliance with these rulings, Ohio State instituted a more complex and sophisticated admissions process. We are now beginning to anticipate the concrete outcomes of those modifications.
Fortunately, we can say with confidence that the students admitted for Autumn 2004 include in aggregate the best qualified African American and Hispanic students ever to enroll at Ohio State. This judgment is based on many contributing factors, including their scores on national tests like the ACT and SAT, the strength of their high school achievements and course work, and their ability to respond well on several required essays that were new to this year's application. For example, according to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the number of African American students ranking in the top quarter of their high school classes increased this year by 3.7%, and the number of Hispanic students from the top quarter jumped by 12.3%.
Unfortunately, while the quality of our enrolled class appears to be rising, it is now also likely that Ohio State will see a reduction in the number of entering minority students. In this we are like many other major colleges, including the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and the University of Massachusetts. We should have a firm practicing of the final number of minority students in the entering class by early in Autumn Quarter.
Currently enrolled minority students passed along some valuable Buckeye wisdom to these newly admitted students through two documents created this spring. Titled Making our Voices Heard, these publications are collections of testimonials. Minority students were asked, "What advice would you supply to other minority students considering Ohio State?" These two publications--one focused on Hispanic students, the other on African Americans-- incorporate the responses that were received. Most of the advice was pragmatic and reflects the realities that all students must face their freshman year, including the hard work needed to maintain good grades.
I am proud of the achievements that we identify in this quarterly Diversity Update and grateful to the many individuals and offices that made them happen.
Mac A. Stewart
The Board of Trustees appointed Barbara R. Snyder as Executive Vice President and Provost at its May meeting. The selection of Snyder was the culmination of a nine-month national search process that drew more than 100 applicants from diverse disciplines, backgrounds, and institutions. Although not originally a candidate, Snyder was recruited to the candidacy by the search committee, which received several nominations based upon her impressive service in the interim role since last July. In appointing Snyder, President Holbrook said she recommended that Barbara serve as the interim provost because of her leadership ability, her clear understanding of the university's academic mission, her commitment to diversity, and the fact that she was well respected by faculty, staff, students, and trustees, and that she demonstrated all those qualities and more while serving as interim provost.
As executive vice president and provost, Snyder is the university's chief academic officer, the focal point for collaboration among the academic and administrative vice presidents, deans, and faculty regarding the university's academic priorities.
Snyder has worked in administration since 2000, when she was named associate dean for academic affairs at the Moritz College of Law. In August 2001, she became vice provost in the Office of Academic Affairs, working closely with the Office of Human Resources to manage academic personnel appointments, leaves, and promotion and tenure review. She also served for seven months as interim vice president for University Relations before being named interim executive vice president and provost last July.
A 1976 Ohio State sociology graduate who earned a law degree from the University of Chicago in 1980, Snyder has been a member of the law faculty here since 1988. With a specialty in rules of evidence, she currently holds the Joanne W. Murphy / Classes of 1965 and 1973 Professorship at Moritz College of Law. From 1983 to 1988, Snyder taught at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She is the coauthor of Ohio Evidence and the Ohio Rules of Evidence Handbook. Snyder received the Moritz College of Law Outstanding Professor Award in 1997, the University Distinguished Affirmative Action Award in 1996, and the Mary Ann Williams Women's Leadership Award from the Association of Faculty and Professional Women in 1993.
John Roberts, professor of English and former associate dean of the College of Humanities was appointed dean of the college effective June 1. Roberts is the author of three books and a number of scholarly articles published in peer-reviewed journals. He is a folklore specialist and has taught all levels of undergraduate and graduate courses. Roberts joined Ohio State's faculty in 1996 as a professor of English and in 1998 was appointed chair of the Department of African- American and African Studies. He took a leave of absence to spend two years as the deputy chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C. In 2003, he was appointed associate dean of the College of Humanities. He has served on numerous departmental, college, and university committees.
Rick A. Kittles, a specialist in prostate-cancer genetics among African Americans, has joined the Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute as a researcher with the Human Cancer Genetics Program. Kittles joins the university as an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology, and Medical Genetics. He came to Ohio State from Howard University, where he co-directed the molecular genetics unit of the national human genome center.
Kittles studies the causes of health disparities in minority populations and is particularly interested in how genetic variation affects prostate-cancer risk and potential biological mechanisms that may contribute to health disparities. Kittles earned a B.S. degree from Rochester Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in biology from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. His major fields of study were population genetics, biological anthropology, and systematics and evolution.
The university and the Columbus chapter of LINKS, Inc., a national organization comprised of women of color, co-sponsored the Prelude Scholastic Recognition Program in May, which honored central Ohio high school minority students who have achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher. This year's event drew more than 1,400 attendees and featured remarks by Dr. Mac Stewart, Theresa Black, and Laura M. Espy. The College of Medicine and Public Health recently partnered with the Ohio State African-American and African Studies Extension Center to create the Math and Science Club and the M.D. Camp. The camp will run for two weeks in the summer and is intended to introduce underrepresented in medicine (URM) high school students to medical fields of study.
The College of Social Work has begun offering a new course titled "Needs and Social Conditions of Latinos/as: Social Policies and Human Services," which looks at public assistance, health, education, immigration, border issues, and official language policy. The college also is preparing to launch a new course next year on human sexuality and social work with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons. The College of Education offered several new courses this academic year focusing on diversity: Cultural Process in Education--uses anthropological perspectives to examine how culture, ethnicity, and power operate in informal and formal educational settings in multiple context; Sexualities and Educations --provides knowledge and awareness of legal, ethical, interpersonal, and community issues related to sexual orientation as areas of diversity in education; A Historical Account of the Education of Black Folk in the U.S.--examines the tradition of black education and the implications of this tradition for educators and future generations of students; and Infusing Global Perspectives in Education--explores rationales, conceptualizations, and methods for teaching global perspectives.
The Multicultural Center, the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing, and Faculty and TA Development sponsored Writing Diversity and the American Experience: Issues in Teaching 367, an interactive workshop for teachers that focuses on multiple forms of "writing diversity" in courses. It began with a brief talk on models and definitions for thinking about diversity within particular disciplines and various strategies for helping students. Participants then worked in small groups to identify common teaching issues. Follow-up discussion addressed participants' common concerns in helping students to develop multiple and deep understandings of "The American Experience" through writing.
"Grandma's Hands," a new program within The James Cancer Hospital, is designed to help African American women understand the importance of participating in clinical cancer trials. The sentiment that African Americans hold special reverence for older women is the impetus behind the program, and director Jack Holland hopes to use it to organize and encourage a group of wise and trusted grandmothers in central Ohio to spread the word with their friends and families about the importance of cancer awareness and clinical trials. Over the next year, Holland and approximately 10 grandmothers will use traditional social networks, like church gatherings, sewing circles, book or bible study groups at home, or other community settings as stages for speakers to talk about clinical trials. The Susan G. Komen Foundation funds the program.
The Department of Chemistry received funding from the National Science Foundation to continue working with Project SEED, a nonprofit organization that partners with universities toward a goal of using mathematics to increase the educational options of urban youth. Faculty and graduate students serve as research mentors for African American Columbus public high school students.
Dr. William Hicks, an oncologist in the Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, is the recipient of the 2003 Crystal Stair Award. The Ohio Commission on Minority Health awards the honor to a person or organization that has made a significant contribution to improving minority health in Ohio. Hicks is a professor of clinical medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine's division of hematology/ oncology and co-director of the diversity enhancement program at The James.
The Office for Disability Services, the Student Affairs Diversity Council, and the ADA Coordinator's Office sponsored an afternoon with Deborah Kendrick, a Cincinnati free-lance writer who is nationally recognized as an advocate for people with disabilities. Kendrick spoke on the changes that have occurred in the disability rights movement over the last 30 years and the challenges that persons with disabilities continue to face in their quest for equal rights.
The university's new web access policy and standards have been approved to ensure equal access to information for all of Ohio State's constituencies. The policy establishes minimum standards for the accessibility of web-based information and services considered necessary to meet this goal and ensures compliance with applicable state and federal regulations. A web access center was created to help web developers understand and implement the new rules as they design or renovate web sites.
Former presidential candidate and ambassador Carol Moseley Braun was the closing speaker for United Black World Month and opening speaker for Women's History Month. Braun also has served as a U.S. senator, state representative, and assistant U.S. attorney. Since 2001, she has taught law and political science at Morris Brown College and DePaul University. Dr. Michael Olivas, an Ohio State alumnus and leading scholar on higher education legal issues--particularly affirmative action and Latino access--visited campus in April. During his two-day visit, Dr. Olivas met with various groups, including the Organization of Hispanic Faculty and Staff, the Hispanic Oversight committee, the Diversity Council, and the Senate Diversity committee. He also met with undergraduate and graduate student groups, delivered a public lecture, and participated in a faculty panel on diversity and higher education that included Kirwan Institute director, john a. powell. Dr. Olivas earned a Ph.D. in higher education from Ohio State.
Communicating Diversity: Implementation, Impact, and Outcome was the theme of the university's 10th Annual Conference on Diversity, Race, and Learning. The conference brought distinguished scholars Manning Marable, professor and director of the African American studies program at Columbia University, and Mary Francis Berry, chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, to campus as the keynote speakers. Participants also gathered at breakout sessions and discussed such subjects as urban education, diversity in higher education, communicating diversity, educational accessibility, and profiling. Ohio State's Diversity Enhancement Award winners were recognized at the event's closing ceremony.
The Other Prom, a formal dance for high school and college students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, was held at Ohio State's Hillel in April. Sponsored by the university's office of GLBT Student Services, the event was created to enable GLBT youth to have the prom experience that was denied to them because they could not bring a same-sex partner to a dance or felt uncomfortable doing so. Now in its fifth year, The Other Prom tries to capture the fun atmosphere of a traditional prom, with an inspiring theme, festive decorations, romantic music, prom kings and queens, and a photographer to capture the event.
Virginia Valian, a noted author and lecturer on gender equity, visited Ohio State on April 30 as the facilitator of several events focused on the knowledge about and application of issues relevant to successful implementation of the Academic Plan, specifically the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in the academic and administrative ranks. In her book, Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women in Academia, Valian questions why so few women are at the top of their professions, whether it be science, law, medicine, college teaching, industry, or business. The theme for the annual African American Heritage Festival was "UHAMBO – The Journey: Embracing Our Past, Present, and Future." The weeklong event featured a campus kickoff celebration, a town hall forum that examined the impact of hip-hop culture, a dinner-dance where participants were encouraged to wear traditional African clothing or accessories, and community service projects.
The College of Education and the Office of Minority Affairs recently co-sponsored four days of events for Brown vs. Board of Education: "50th Anniversary: Celebrating Equality in Education" in which participants focused on the history, impact, and future of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that desegregated public schools. The celebration began with Charles V. Willie, professor emeritus, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Ohio State Scholar in Residence, addressing the "State of Education," and culminated with the Ninth Annual Diversity Forum and Graduate Student Symposium in which 23 graduate students presented their research on multicultural issues in education. In between, faculty from the College of Education presented "The Importance of Brown vs. Board of Education on the current research agenda in education," featuring speaker Orlando Taylor, dean of the graduate school at Howard. A town meeting featured Taylor as well as Kurt Schmoke, dean of the college of law at Howard University and former mayor of Baltimore. The keynote speaker for the event was James D. Anderson, department head and professor of educational policy studies, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign.
Larry Williamson, with the Frank W. Hale Black Cultural Center, and State Representative Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) coordinated a statewide get-out- the-vote campaign this month called the Hip-Hop Summit. Featuring top artists in the industry, the event was billed as a non-partisan registration effort and education summit, with the goal of registering voters in the state between the ages of 18 and 40. Rap mogul Russell Simmons and civil rights veteran Benjamin Chavis founded the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) in 2001, and since then Chavis has organized approximately 23 summits across the country over the past three years. In May, the Multiethnic Students in Human Ecology (MSHEC) and the Multicultural Center co-sponsored a "Celebration of Cultures." The program included three types of events: undergraduate students from several human ecology courses prepared posters on food, family, religion, dress, and culture from countries around the world; international graduate students served on three different panels and talked about food, apparel, and family/child traditions from their countries; and students and staff members prepared and served different foods from several countries.
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Recently, The College Board announced that the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) will be completely online starting in 2024. This announcement has resulted in many questions from parents, high school students, and administrators across the nation. Scott Snyder, Ph.D., Professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Department of Human Studies, is an expert on measurement and an advisor to the Alabama Department of Education on testing and school accountability issues.
Below, Snyder provides factual answers to frequently asked questions regarding college admissions testing and the new format's impact on students preparing to take the SAT in Alabama.
Both the ACT and the SAT provide some evidence that their test scores provide valuable information to colleges and universities for predicting the success of potential students. Average high school grades are influenced by various factors, including the rigor of a student's course load. Therefore, performance on standardized admissions tests gives colleges another tool to understand the academic readiness of applicants. The standardized nature of these tests also provides reliable and comparable information that colleges use to award academic merit scholarships. Additionally, some colleges use these test scores to determine which level of math or English courses incoming students should take to start their academic pursuits in college.
Yes, all colleges in the US accept both the ACT and the SAT for college admissions consideration. There is no evidence that college admissions professionals prefer one test over the other. However, because of the differences in the tests, students may do better on one test rather than the other.
ACT: In Alabama, all juniors who want to receive a regular high school diploma must complete the ACT as part of the state's accountability system. That is roughly 56,000 students each year. The ACT scores range from 1 to 36. The national average on the ACT in 2021 was 20.1, and the average in Alabama was 18.7. Five other states require all students to complete the ACT. The average score for those states in 2021 was 18.8.
Both tests assess reading, English/grammar/language, and math. The ACT has a separate optional writing assessment. While both tests assess science, the ACT has a separate section for science. It, therefore, provides an additional score in that area that represents 25% of the student's overall test score. Both tests currently take about three hours, but the supplemental writing section of the ACT adds another 40 minutes. The ACT allows calculators for all the math sections. The SAT allows the use of calculators for one of two math sections. While much of the math sections of both tests focus on algebra, the ACT gives more attention to geometry than the SAT. A significant difference between the two tests is that Math is worth half of the points on the SAT but only worth 25% on the ACT. Students who are stronger in math may score somewhat better on the SAT since math makes up 50% of the score on that test.
However, once the SAT goes entirely online in 2024, some of the differences listed above will disappear, i.e., the use of calculators for all math questions on the SAT. Unfortunately, it is unclear what will happen with the other differences listed above— specifically, the geometry portion in the math sections and accomodating students with special needs.
Significant changes will be made to the SAT when it goes online in 2024. Most significantly, completion of the test will be in two hours rather than three. The College Board, the publishers of the SAT, are using a process called "computer adaptive testing" or "tailored testing" to provide a somewhat individualized and significantly shorter testing experience to students. The online test will present the student with test items of different difficulties to determine where the student falls along the 800-point scale currently used for each of the two sections. If students miss a difficult question, they will be given a somewhat easier item next. If they pass that item, they will move on to a slightly more complex one. This adjustment takes place until the estimate of the student's ability is stable.
One consequence of this change to computer adaptive testing will be practicing assessment. Currently, students must answer several items associated with specific practicing passages that may be lengthy (e.g., eight paragraphs). The new test includes shorter passages and asks only one question per passage. The question will still address the range of practicing skills tested on the current examination but involve more practicing passages.
College Board also indicates that the passages will reflect the type of content that students will encounter in college courses. It will be interesting to see how well these passages will predict success in college courses for first-year students who are likely to experience longer practicing passages in college classes.
One advantage of taking the test online is the shorter test duration. While a two-hour test is tiring and stressful, it is undoubtedly less demanding than the current three-hour test. If the states allow schools to administer the test, the shorter test length will be less disruptive to learning and instruction. At this time, students in Alabama would need to take the test in an approved testing center because Alabama does not require the SAT as part of its school accountability assessment system. By 2024 most students in Alabama will be very familiar with online testing (since the ACAP is entirely online and students can also take the ACT online). This current generation of students has grown up with frequent online assessments, making them more comfortable with the digital delivery of the test than older generations.
Additionally, College Board and some media outlets reported that students who took pilot versions of the online SAT preferred it over the paper and pencil PSAT they took the year before. Students claimed they liked that the online version was streamlined and that there was a timer onscreen to help stay on schedule for the exam sections.
Another benefit of the online administration of the SAT is how quickly students and parents will receive the results back. It is expected that students should receive their scores within days rather than after two weeks.
There are two potential problems associated with online testing. First is the issue of access to the technology needed to take the test online. While students will have to take the SAT at an approved testing site rather than at home, they will be allowed to use their technology. Therefore, either the student must bring their laptop or tablet, or the testing facility must provide students with the equipment. This access to proper equipment may be particularly challenging to poor and rural communities where access to hardware and internet bandwidth may be factors.
The other significant challenge with online testing is losing power, internet connection, uploading problems, or system glitches during the testing window. The College Board had previously reported plans to address the loss of power by saving where/when the student was in the test.
While both the SAT and the ACT are used for college admissions, students might perform considerably better on one test than on another. Since half of the total score of the SAT is based on math while only 25% of the ACT total score is based on math, students who are stronger in math may do better on the SAT rather than the ACT. Cost and accessibility to a testing center might influence whether students should take the SAT as well. The SAT currently costs $55, whereas the ACT is free to juniors in high school. Students might also have to travel to testing centers to take the test. If cost and accessibility were not challenges, having another set of scores to consider submitting would supply the applicant another opportunity for showing colleges their strengths.
UAB provides the following advice to students about submitting ACT or SAT scores:
"In 2020, UAB's incoming first-year class had a mean ACT composite score of 25.9 and a mean high school GPA of 3.83. With these averages in mind, students should submit scores for consideration if they believe that their scores accurately reflect their quality of work in high school. If they feel that an ACT or SAT score is not reflective of their ability, they should not submit scores." (https://www.uab.edu/admissions/apply/test-optional)
The SAT score equivalent to an ACT of 25.9 is in the 1220-1230 range. While colleges will consider a range of academic and non-academic factors when making an admission decision, if a student's score is at or above the average for the test-optional college, they may benefit from considering their test scores.
Students trying to decide whether to submit their test scores are strongly encouraged to get advice from their school counselor or an admissions counselor at the college(s) they are interested in attending.
At UAB, admissions counselors can be reached through the following link: https://www.uab.edu/admissions/contact/admissions-counselors.
The general requirements for admission to graduate study at the university are listed below.
The rules, regulations, and policies delineated by the University constitute only the minimum requirements for admission, retention, and graduation. Each department may have additional requirements mandated by the unique nature of its programs. It is the responsibility of the graduate student to be aware of the minimum requirements of the University and, in addition, to fulfill the special requirements of the particular program in which he or she is enrolled.
Applicants can apply using the online application.
A non-waivable and non-refundable application fee must be received before the application is processed. Each applicant must file the following documents:
The University of Massachusetts Lowell Graduate Admissions Office has a "rolling admissions" policy. However, some programs have early, fixed application deadlines. Consequently, the applicant is strongly urged to contact the department of interest to determine the last date on which applications may be received. In general, early applications will ensure that all materials are processed on time and that a student who wishes to apply for a teaching assistantship will be given due consideration. Many programs will fill available openings several months before the beginning of the semester. A student who has been accepted into a graduate program must attend within a year of acceptance or may, at the discretion of the department, be required to submit a new application. Application files for individuals who do not matriculate will be retained for only two years from the date of application.
A student may be admitted to graduate study at the University of Massachusetts Lowell under one of the two classifications listed below.
Graduate certificate programs are designed for students holding a baccalaureate degree in a field related to the certificate program. A student who wishes to apply to a certificate program must complete the Graduate Certificate Application, submit the appropriate application fee, and submit an official transcript indicating the conferral of a bachelor's degree. The graduate record exam (GRE) and letters of recommendation are not required.
A student in a certificate program who wishes to enroll in a master's or doctoral program is ineligible to receive credit towards a degree until he or she files a formal application and is then admitted as a matriculated student.
The maximum number of graduate credits a student may complete while enrolled in a graduate certificate is 12 credits.
An individual without advanced degree objectives may take courses in certain programs with non-degree status. A student who wishes to take courses as a non-degree student must submit an official transcript indicating the conferral of a bachelor's degree. A student in non-degree status is ineligible to receive credit towards a degree until he or she files a formal application and is then admitted as a matriculated student.
The maximum number of graduate credits a student may complete with non-degree status is 12 credits.
NOTE: International students are not eligible for non-degree status.
To apply for admission to the Interdisciplinary Evaluation Science program, please use the Inquire Today link at the left.
The admissions criteria will identify those applicants who are likely to be successful evaluation professionals. Specifically, the program seeks to attract applicants who have:
University policy on admissions: Admission to the graduate program is competitive. Those who meet stated requirements are not guaranteed admission, nor are those who fail to meet all of those requirements necessarily precluded from admission if they offer other appropriate strengths. Applicants for the Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Evaluation Science will apply to the Graduate College. At the time of application, applicants will specify their preferred concentration area, as well as first and second alternative concentration areas. These alternate concentration areas will be used if the preferred concentration area is full. The specific criteria for GPA and test scores are:
Applicants must have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree. Evaluation is an interdisciplinary field, so the discipline in which the applicant received his or her degree is not necessarily a decisive factor in admissions.
Students may apply at any time; applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
Both part-time and full-time students will be admitted. Admissions and course requirements are the same for part- and full-time students.
Undergraduate students in good standing at UD who are recommended by their department may apply to the program waiving the second recommendation letter and the application fee.
Organizations may work with the Graduate College to create a partnership application to the program that includes a group of individuals. The Graduate College will consider these agreements on an individual basis.
This is an edition of Up for Debate, a newsletter by Conor Friedersdorf. On Wednesdays, he rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.
Last week I asked, “Should America go ‘all in’ on public schools, or should parents have the ability to direct the tax dollars that fund their child’s education to the public or private school of their choice?”
Mary is a former teacher who sent her children to public schools, believes in their mission, and now favors school choice. She writes:
I have a master’s in education and even though I stopped working when I had my children, I have given my time for years tutoring practicing in a nonprofit after-school program. This opened my eyes wider to what I have always known and am ashamed to say: that public schools are filled with systematic racism! They have held down minorities for decades. Why is it not okay to call out and demand change for a system that has failed our most vulnerable population? People of means are able to move on to better options for their children. We need to supply those same options to all children. Would you keep calling the same plumber if he repeatedly didn’t fix your sink? Maybe we ARE all racist if we continue to not demand better for those who can’t afford a change.
Helga wants to go “all in” on public schools:
As a first-generation American whose father’s formal education was derailed by WWII and refugee life during his formative years, I was raised to view my public education as a gift from my country and a unifying force for civilized discourse among the citizenry. Taxpayer-funded private and religious education on a national scale would be Balkanizing.
Working in education today, I see the ill effects of a culture of low expectations, poorly educated instructors who collect “credentials” like Pokémon cards for climbing the pay scale, and students struggling under the weight of unstable home lives. My colleagues are proudly unread and ill-informed. My students have no idea how much they are getting screwed until they attempt college. As a parent, I have seen the positive effects of my student navigating pre-K-through-grade-12 public school and paid five-figure property taxes annually to ensure this exceptional education. My child’s teachers were highly educated and engaged and exposed my student to a wide range of ideas and experiences. The inequality between my work school and home school is staggering. The country would benefit from more equitable funding and support to deliver quality to all. Public funding of religious zealotry posing as education is not the solution for what ails us.
Jessica believes that “parents should have the ability to direct the tax dollars that fund their child’s education to either public or private schools,” but feels torn on the issue and explains why:
I’m 66 years old, the daughter of a primary-school teacher who taught for 30-plus years in the NYC public-school system. She won numerous awards as she always looked for creative ways to engage her students. She was often chosen to teach the class designated as “IGC”—“intellectually gifted,” as it was called back then. She loved those classes because it allowed students (a very diverse group of NYC students back in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s) to stretch and succeed. She received innumerable thank-you letters (from students and parents) throughout the years as she pushed her students to work hard, think hard, and reach for tough—and seemingly elusive—goals. Her students went on to win science awards, to win writing contests, and to graduate college, even as they were the first person in their family to do so. Thus: Per my mother’s experience—and my own experience (I taught undergraduates for a part of my career)—I believe wholeheartedly in a rigorous public-school system that pushes students to excellence.
But that’s not what's going on now––and my mother, who was a die-hard, card-carrying, picketing member of her union, would be horrified to see what’s happening.
To her (and to me), getting rid of honors and AP and gifted classes is a travesty, one that harms all students. My mother was always so impressed with her students—of all backgrounds and races—as she watched them take up the gauntlet of learning. She helped them create better study habits and think creatively and not be hampered by a problem, but rather keep looking for a solution. That last part, to keep students from giving up in the face of a difficulty, is what I think of as her “special sauce.” If public schools continue getting rid of intellectual standards and tests, and ultimately taking away a young person’s opportunity to truly succeed, then I would be perfectly happy to have a strong private-school system supported by my tax dollars. And while I’m NOT a religious person, that goes as well for religious schools that have strong science programs that follow the scientific method. I had many friends when I was younger who went to excellent Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish schools that prepared them well for university.
Of course if you had asked me this question about 10 to 15 years ago, my answer would have been different! The times they are a-changin’, and therefore so are my opinions …
Joshua argues that public schools are a public good and are accountable to taxpayers as well:
Today’s children are tomorrow’s tax base, and we must have a vested collective interest in an educated citizenry. Public education is something we should all care about, and we should work hard to make it function. We should provide flexibility––for example, opportunities for job training as young as 16. We can reimagine public education without giving up on it.
Private (especially religious) schools receiving tax funding without any meaningful access for taxpayers to weigh in on decision making is extremely problematic to me. Some parents and right-wing grassroots movements claim parents have no say in public education, but they do. We have elections for state boards and for local school boards.
Amy attended Catholic school and is similarly skeptical of school choice:
If a private school ever receives public funding, it should only be if it was determined that its learning standards are aligned with the state’s. That would at least make it look good on paper. But what would actually be taught? The private school can say their biology teachers teach evolution, but keep in mind what kind of teachers private schools are going to hire: ones with an interest to teach creationism. Will someone from the state sit in on that biology class and make sure the lessons are taught properly?
I have no confidence that private schools will teach the state’s learning standards, and here’s why: I am now an (atheist) science teacher in a public school. We have one other teacher in our small, rural high school that teaches Biology, just like me. I have one section and she has four sections. I devote about one quarter of the year to teaching evolution. She doesn’t include it in her curriculum at all, despite the fact that our state (Illinois) mandates that evolution be taught in biology classes. She has told me that it is due to her religious belief. She can’t teach something that she doesn’t believe is true.
We have a small district and an administration and school board that either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that she has left it out. The state is not coming in to sit in on her classroom, observe her lack of an evolution unit, and hold her accountable. However, I feel pretty confident she is not so bold as to teach creationism in its place, and this is the biggest difference between public and private schools. As public-school teachers, we know where we definitely can’t step, even if we fail to go on the paths we were told to follow.
For the record, I attended Catholic school and was taught evolution. Unlike some faiths, the Catholic Church’s official position is that the theory of evolution is compatible with the Bible.
David describes an approach to school choice that would not involve direct taxpayer funding of religious schools and would incentivize high standards without interfering in private institutions:
Establish state examinations for grades 1–12 that measure achievement in reading, writing, math, history, science, and civics. These examinations should reflect what public-school students are expected to learn. Establish minimum passing scores on these grade-level examinations that are required to be elevated from one grade level to the next. Parents should receive confidential reports of their child’s performance on these examinations. This creates better information for parents to evaluate than a report card.
Any parent who does not enroll their child in a public school, and whose child takes the examinations for their age, should be awarded a Scholastic Achievement Grant for Education (SAGE) if they obtain the minimum score required for grade-level promotion. This way, parents unhappy with the public-school curriculum can leave instead of wasting their breath and time going to school-board meetings. This will lower the political temperature. And unlike vouchers for private schools, taxpayers have accountability. Those granted SAGEs fulfilled a public purpose, learning what is expected in public school. A SAGE doesn’t have church-state entanglement problems because, unlike vouchers that pay for seat time in private schools, a SAGE pays based on performance on public examinations. The only concern of the taxpayers and the government is did the child learn the required amount expected of public-school students?
Jessie is a mom of three in Colorado. She tells her family’s story of leaving the public-school system during the pandemic:
My oldest daughter was turning 6 when schools were abruptly shut down. We started school online, which for a working mother of two small kids was a ridiculous joke. I cried the very first day out of stress, fear for my daughter, and anger at the bureaucracy that didn’t look at her social, educational, or emotional needs. Every kid was slumped in a chair on the Zoom call, hardly speaking. Six-year-olds staring at a screen, or not. Our teacher understood the enormity of what was being asked of us parents, and told us it was okay if not everything got done. We gave up one day in April. The teacher, too. We all knew this was a failure. I knew what the rest of the world is only starting to understand: that the kids who posed the smallest risk were punished the most.
On my daughter’s sixth birthday, they had a Zoom dance party for her, and I wept as I watched my daughter dance by herself in front of a laptop “with” her classmates. After May, public schools struggled to decide what to do for the fall. Remote? Online? Hybrid? They had no clue. The lack of leadership and clarity only added stress to a working family. That July, when they STILL didn’t have a plan, I knew it was time to get out.
My husband and I dug into our savings and enrolled our daughter at a small Christian school 10 minutes from our home. This was prior to mandates for young children to wear masks, so she spent her first-grade year maskless in a classroom learning with her friends. At pickup every day, the kids were jubilant, talkative, excited and … KIDS. I teared up with gratitude every day in the pickup line as I saw my daughter chat with other girls playing some hand-slapping game as they waited. My daughter deserved an education, but also a CHILDHOOD. And because of our choice to pull her that year, that’s just what she got.
I started attending public-school-board meetings, initially to protest masks, and learned how horrifically the school system I had graduated from was now failing. For 15 years the system has been in a downward spiral, adding bureaucracy and creating programs that made little progress. I started practicing articles about critical race theory, gender theory, and other ideologies that are becoming more mainstream. A friend who was a kindergarten teacher confessed they were teaching 5-year-olds that there were 30 different gender possibilities.
I sat in one public-school-board meeting where a special-assessment group had been contracted to discover why our public schools were failing. They put together a 30-page PowerPoint presentation that basically just showed what we know. Math, science, and practicing are all in freefall. They had no solutions. They are failing. There is no resuscitation. In my friend circles, there are dozens, possibly hundreds, of us that have pulled our children from school in the last two years. Some homeschool, some charter, some go private. But we ALL know what America will know soon. The public-school system is broken beyond repair and free-market correction may be its only hope.
Robert casts doubt on the superiority of private and charter schools:
Charter and private schools play a far different game than public schools. Public schools must take all students with very few exceptions. This includes students with significant learning and behavior problems. Charter schools simply avoid these students.
In public schools, a kid has to cause significant harm to others, deal drugs, or bring weapons to school to be totally removed. Charter schools work in the opposite direction. Students that do not deliver a favorable outcome are simply never let in or removed long before high-stakes testing comes around. For those students that win the “lottery” to gain admission, there is a line of students waiting to replace them and schools do an excellent job of identifying those who drive the scores down and eliminate them. Running afoul of the rules can quickly get a student removed for things that would require exhaustive layers of disciplinary and restorative remedies in public school.
It’s maddening, as a public-school teacher whose performance is judged by school test scores, to see charter/private schools gain by excluding poorly performing students who are tossed back into public schools while boasting about their scores compared to public schools. I could literally flip the results of testing by simply observing a public school for a week to see who is habitually truant or has behavioral issues and moving them into a nonpublic school that would have to eat those poor-performing-student numbers.
The critique that charter schools simply avoid difficult students, by declining to admit them or expelling them before tests, is among the most contested areas of the school-choice debate. What is permitted differs by state––in California, for example, the law requires charters to admit all students who want to attend, and to deal with a dearth of space by admitting students via random lottery. In other states researchers have attempted to study whether charters engage in “skimming” and “pushout,” as in this study.
Zachary wants to require people to stay in public schools:
The impoverished are already all in on public schools for lack of a better option, so what we’re really asking is if the well-off should go all in as well. If the well-off do not have to participate in the same public systems the rest of us do, those systems inevitably suffer from neglect and a lack of investment. We should wield selfishness for the public good. If children of the well-off have to attend public school, they have an incentive to make sure those schools are functioning well. If the rich are able to opt out of public education—as they increasingly have in exact years—they have no stake in the quality of their local public education, as it will not directly affect them or their children.
I had to attend special-education classes as a child while my family struggled with finances. I could barely put a sentence together at the age of 5 before I then blossomed and was far past my peers by the second grade. My nephew is going through similar circumstances at the same age, and I hope he blossoms as I did, but quality public education in his district is lacking and his specialized education is minimal—less than what I received over 20 years ago—and the best private schools in his area are explicitly Christian (which presents its own set of issues even if affordability was not a concern). What would become of a child like me in a system where the well-off have opted out of public education? Would they still choose to invest in children like me, or would I be left behind?
Erin advances a related argument:
Inclusion in education is beneficial to students with and without disabilities, as well as the community at large. The cost to provide a free and appropriate public education to all students varies, so schools will set aside larger amounts of money to hire special-education personnel. The problem with letting tax dollars flow to private schools is that private schools have the ability to deny enrollment to students that may “cost more to educate.” Students needing specialized instruction such as dyslexia services may be denied admission, simply because schools may consider it more cost-effective to educate students that are “cheaper” to educate. This is a horrible and discriminatory way to fund education. It will weaken public schools and will hurt students with disabilities.
But Michael’s concern for the marginalized led him to the opposite conclusion:
Public education is sub-par in the U.S. [despite relatively high spending per student compared to most countries]. In many schools it’s positively abysmal. Why should children suffer because they live in an area with terrible schools? Or if they want schools that offer more than the publics do? If we really want equity, then allow minority students the option to go where they will get a good education, not one that might barely pass as one. I daresay that one of the reasons that our schools perform so badly is that they are a monopoly, with the teachers unions as the de facto controlling entity. Competition is a great thing—monopolies have no incentive to improve, but if you lose many of your customers to a better product you will have to do a better job or go under. Why should schools be different?
Glenn points to America’s system of higher education as proof:
Our primary-education system (K–12) is a monopoly full of uniform standards [and] systemic inefficiencies, and [it is] consistently falling further and further behind the global benchmarks for good education. The American collegiate system has always had to compete for its students. In any form of competition there are inevitably winners and losers, and our collegiate system is an unwieldy mix of poorer and well endowed, large and small, public and private, secular and religious, high academic and of more modest standards, on campus and off campus, junior colleges, technical colleges, A&Ms, research institutions, etc. But it is irrefutable that the collegiate system, after years of competition, is the envy of the rest of the world while our primary system and its educational monopoly falls further behind. The difference can be summed up in one word—competition.
Last but not least, Adam is taking a wait-and-see approach:
As a high-school student, I think whether or not we go “all in” on public schools depends on their ability to focus on rigorous and comprehensive learning. If the public-school system can demonstrate speedy COVID-learning-loss recovery and prove itself resilient against politicization efforts, and it can realign its priorities for student achievement, then a full investment in public schools is beneficial. However, if quality, learning-centered education cannot be provided, parents have every right to flock to private and/or charter schools, and to support them instead.
Thank you to everyone who wrote in, whether I included your email or not. I read every one. See you later this week.