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Box and Won

OT: SLU Drops SAT/ACT Requirement

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My son is a graduating high school Senior this year - 2020 and my daughter is a high school Sophomore so I am quite familiar with many of the issues (though do not profess to be any expert on the subject).  Here's some information:

1.   The ACT (mostly used by Midwest schools) and the SAT (mostly used by East and West Coast schools) is certainly a major factor for both admissions and scholarships-- though we have found that grade point average is just as important..  Most kids do better on one versus the other but the elite kids truly do well on both -- and that's what separates them from their competition.

2.  There has been a recent push to change the topics and format of the standardized scores to help disadvantaged students and also to incorporate your zip code or proximity to poor/disadvantaged areas into your test scores - but this failed.   The intention is to reward disadvantaged students as 3 Star points out but I suspect too many issues exist as there are poor areas/homes in the wealthiest zip codes and a lot of wealthy areas/homes in or near poor areas/zip codes.

3. A major change which DID pass is that next year, you will now be able to sit for only a portion of the test:   For instance, if you took the ACT and scored:  30 on English, 28 on Reading, 28 on Science and 26 on Math,  schools will receive all 4 scores and your average/composite score of 28.   Up until now, you had been required to sit for and take all 4 tests even though you might only want to increase your Math score.  If you did, you might increase your Math to 28 but then you English could drop to 28 and you are no better off.  Some schools allow you now to "superscore" by taking your top scores from multiple days of testing - but to do so now, you must send in your scores from the different days of testing.   Next year, though, you will be able to sit for only the Math test and then you will be able to have the ACT add this to your other 3 scores and then send in your best 4 scores - thereby creating your own "super score"

4.  SAT/ACT testing has been canceled this Spring due to COVID and studying this summer for the standardized tests will likely be more limited than in the past.

5.  The biggest detraction to standardized testing is that kids are no longer going to a Saturday session or two OR spending $20 on an ACT/SAT prep book from the local bookstore and a few hours of your time as they did back in my day.  Nowadays, kids are paying $70 to $125 per session for private tutor sessions and many are taking 15 to 20 sessions. Purchasing 5, 10 and 15 session packages is common and there are discounts the more sessions you purchase.   Kids also go to Tutor A for English reading, Tutor B for Science and Tutor C for Math.  Modern scientific calculators which can store formulas for the calculating areas of an irregular trapezoid ARE PERMITTED.  Testing schemes and strategies is sophisticated.  Being taught and prepared helps - and helps a lot.   Are we any better off as a society?   Probably not.  But if your competition is doing this, then you need to do as well.   I have heard up to $5,000 to $10,000 spent on their kids but  even a more "reasonable" amount of $1500 to $2000 is money well spent (if it improves your child's score) when you consider that college tuition costs between $20,000 to $85,000 per year.  "Buying" a high test score has become big business.

6.   Many schools have been dropping the REQUIREMENT of the standardized testing though these same schools still use standardized test scores for admittance and to award scholarships.   Frankly, many schools are desperate for students and feel they can attract more if they drop the requirement by appealing and marketing to all the kids who don't do well.  I assume they are successful.

The real question is:   will SLU (and the others) stop awarding scholarships to those with high test scores and/or start shifting money to those without high scores -- or now without even having standardized test scores. I suspect that standardized testing will continue to be very, very important.

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5 hours ago, BilliesBy40 said:

Yes, and the ACT/SAT are not good indicators of future success. You seem to be ignoring this key point. 

Out of reactions...but this sums it up perfectly.
 

And of course it is still a data point that is available for those who wish to include it. It will make SLU more competitive...not less.  It will emphasize performance more than aptitude and the availability of test tutors. 

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Frankly, I don’t think SLU undergrad is competitive enough of a school to be making these “one in, one out” hypotheticals. It’s not like one 3.5 kid is going to be missing out on attending SLU because some other kid had a 3.6 instead.

This probably changes little to nothing at SLU 

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