Our country is crumbling before us as a direct result of relaxing our standards for excellence. This is true in many areas of American life but it’s most obvious in our education system. We’re abandoning the pursuit of excellence in favor of the pursuit of equality. This is more than foolish; it’s literally suicide.
CNN is reporting that American universities are moving from the SAT and ACT exams as requirements for entry. The justification? Not enough people with poor scores on those exams are making it into college.
Wake Forest made the move as part of its efforts to increase socioeconomic, racial and ethnic diversity in the student body, said Martha Allman, director of admissions. Research has shown that SAT performance is linked with family income, and that the test by itself does not accurately predict success in college, she said.
Making the test optional “removes the barrier for those students who had everything else,” like scholastic achievement and extracurricular activities, but who “maybe didn’t do as well on a specific test,” she said.
A specific test? That’s what we’re calling the SAT now? Just some random test? High SAT scores are linked with family income for a good reason — because high IQ is linked with family income1. That’s why the SAT is used to test for college admission, because those with higher IQs do better on the SAT2, and because IQ is strongly correlated with success both in college and in life.
If minorities aren’t scoring high enough on the SAT then find out why this is the case and help them. If you care about the quality of your group you don’t abandon a standard because not enough people are reaching it. The limited number of people achieving a high standard is the reason for and definition of a high standard.
If you lower the standard for medical school graduates you get lower quality doctors. And the same goes for a country where the college graduates don’t compare to those abroad — we end up with a lower quality population.
Bottom line: if you can’t read, write and do math at the 12th grade level then you shouldn’t be allowed to go to college. The answer isn’t lowering university standards; it’s raising the standards in high school.:
2 Meredith C. Frey, Douglas K. Detterman (2004) Scholastic Assessment or g?. The Relationship Between the Scholastic Assessment Test and General Cognitive Ability Psychological Science 15 (6) , 373–378 doi:10.1111/j.0956-7976.2004.00687.x