Hampshire Dumps SAT for Real

I am not on the “standardized tests are worthless” bandwagon, but you’ll get no argument from me if you claim they are a big part of the distortion of the higher education admissions market. This is probably more so in professional schools but bachelors programs are affected too. At least in part because of US News ratings, very few institutions are willing to abandon test scores. But now Hampshire College, one of a small number of institutions that can be counted on for ongoing innovation in undergraduate education, has chucked them out the window. It will be interesting to see whether any of their principled peers follow suit.

Now if we could only get a few colleges to become extra-curricular-activity-blind, kids might be saved from having the because-it-looks-good-on-my-application motivation burned into their souls.

Inside Higher Ed

‘Test-Blind’ Admissions
June 19, 2014
More than 800 four-year colleges and universities do not require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. But of these “test-optional” colleges, the competitive ones will look at scores that are submitted. And most selective, test-optional colleges report that a majority of applicants (typically a large majority) submit scores.
On Wednesday, Hampshire College announced that it would become the only such college that will be “test-blind,” meaning that it will not look at SAT or ACT scores even if applicants submit them.

New York Times


College to No Longer Consider Test Scores in Its Decisions

Hampshire College, in Amherst, Mass., said on Wednesday that it would no longer consider SAT or ACT scores in admissions or financial aid decisions. Meredith Twombly, the dean of admissions, said Hampshire had been “test optional” since it opened in 1970 but would become “test blind,” both for greater fairness and because Hampshire favors assessment through written work, projects and discussions, not test scores. Robert Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest, said Hampshire would be the only test-blind college: Sarah Lawrence College was test-blind for several years, but it reverted to test-optional two years ago after U.S. News and World Report stopped ranking it because of the lack of test scores.

Author: Dan Ryan

I'm currently an Academic Program Director at MinervaProject.com. I've been a professor at University of Toronto, University of Southern California, and Mills College teaching things like human centered design, computational thinking, modeling for policy sciences, and social theory. I'm driven by the desire to figure out how to teach twice as many twice as well twice as easily.

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