Cover

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-x

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Introduction: The Emergence of Standardized Testing and the Rise of Test-Optional Admissions

Jack Buckley, Lynn Letukas, Ben Wildavsky

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pp. 1-10

Near the turn of the twentieth century, on December 22, 1899, representatives of 12 universities and 3 preparatory academies met and agreed on “a plan of examination suitable as a test for admission to college,” thus ushering in the era of standardized admissions testing (Maryland College Entrance Examination Board 1900). The original intent of standardized admissions testing ...

Part I. Making the Case for Standardized Testing

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1. Eight Myths about Standardized Admissions Testing

Paul R. Sackett, Nathan R. Kuncel

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pp. 13-39

Critiques of standardized testing in college admissions take many forms—from the claim that such assessments are mired in racial, gender, and class bias; to the assertion that admissions tests are highly coachable; to the argument that they are just not a very good predictor of academic success. In this chapter, Paul R. Sackett and Nathan R. Kuncel discuss and refute these claims and others. ...

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2. The Core Case for Testing: The State of Our Research Knowledge

Emily J. Shaw

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pp. 40-63

A mid continued debate about the use of standardized college entrance exams, this chapter offers a comprehensive reminder of why standardized admissions tests such as the ACT and SAT are still widely used by college admissions officers, enrollment managers, and institutions of higher education. Standardized tests are important because they offer a common benchmark against which to compare students ...

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3. Grade Inflation and the Role of Standardized Testing

Michael Hurwitz, Jason Lee

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pp. 64-93

There are decades of research on the validity and predictive power of standardized achievement tests, particularly in the college admissions context. As we observe elsewhere in this volume, scholars, test developers, and practitioners have compared their content to various curricular standards, examined their ability to predict a wide range of postsecondary outcomes even when controlling for other factors, ...

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4. Merit-Based Scholarships in Student Recruitment and the Role of Standardized Tests

Jonathan Jacobs, Jim Brooks, Roger J. Thompson

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pp. 94-117

College and university enrollment managers use a variety of recruitment strategies to encourage highly qualified students to apply and enroll at their institutions. As the net price of tuition has increased in recent years, these strategies often take the form of merit- and need-based financial aid. Financial aid is important because it enables institutions to increase access to postsecondary education ...

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5. When High School Grade Point Average and Test Scores Disagree: Implications for Test-Optional Policies

Edgar Sanchez, Krista Mattern

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pp. 118-142

Almost everyone—parent, educator, administrator—has known a student whose standardized test scores and grades just don’t seem to match. “They just don’t test well,” or, “those tests don’t capture their learning style,” are the sorts of phrases one hears when describing these students with such “discrepant” performance. In this chapter, Sanchez and Mattern investigate the potential causes and consequences of this potential mismatch between grades and scores. ...

Part II. The Rise of Test-Optional Admissions

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6. Understanding the Test-Optional Movement

Jerome A. Lucido

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pp. 145-170

Why do college admissions leaders make the decisions they do? How much does research on standardized admissions testing inform enrollment practice? In this chapter, veteran admissions director Jerome Lucido, who now heads the University of Southern California’s Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice, draws on interviews with chief enrollment officers at public and private test-optional institutions ...

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7. Going Test-Optional: A Case Study

Eric Maguire

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pp. 171-192

The growth of the test-optional movement has garnered considerable media attention and spurred discussions among admissions officers, educational researchers, policymakers, and the public about the value and continued use of standardized tests in the admission process. This chapter offers case studies from two institutions that implemented test-optional admissions policies: ...

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8. Test Scores and High School Grades as Predictors

William G. Bowen, Matthew M. Chingos, Michael S. McPherson

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pp. 193-226

Advocates of test-optional admissions often claim that standardized tests add little value beyond high school grades in predicting success in college. They frequently cite the chapter that follows, reprinted from Crossing the Finish Line, an influential 2009 volume on college graduation by the late economist William G. Bowen and coauthors Matthew M. Chingos and Michael S. McPherson. ...

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Comment

Michael Hurwitz, Meredith Welch

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pp. 226-234

Bowen, Chingos, and McPherson (henceforth referred to as BCM) shed light on the complex relationships between high school grade point average (HSGPA), college entrance exam scores, and college completion using a rich set of administrative data from nearly 150,000 students beginning their studies at 68 public colleges in the fall of 1999. ...

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Reply

Matthew M. Chingos, Michael S. McPherson

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pp. 234-236

We are grateful to Michael Hurwitz and Meredith Welch for using the rich set of administrative data available at the College Board to update our analysis of the ability of test scores and high school grade point average (HSGPA) to predict college graduation rates. Our work, on which we collaborated with our late colleague and friend William G. Bowen, ...

Part III. Contemporary Challenges for College Admissions

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9. How Do Percent Plans and Other Test-Optional Admissions Programs Affect the Academic Performance and Diversity of the Entering Class?

Rebecca Zwick

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pp. 239-259

The debate over the use of standardized tests in college admissions typically focuses on the group of mostly private institutions, notably small liberal arts colleges, that have jettisoned or minimized testing requirements in recent years. Far less attention has been paid to the percent plans, based on high school class rank, that several large state universities adopted in the 1990s ...

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10. The Test-Optional Movement at America’s Selective Liberal Arts Colleges: A Boon for Equity or Something Else?

Andrew S. Belasco, Kelly O. Rosinger, James C. Hearn

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pp. 260-287

Test-optional supporters often claim that dropping SAT or ACT admissions testing requirements will increase the number of underrepresented minority and low-income students on campus. While much of the prior research on test-optional admissions is based on case studies that are of limited scope and generalizability, this chapter moves beyond those limitations to use time-series, ...

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11. The Effect of Going Test-Optional on Diversity and Admissions: A Propensity Score Matching Analysis

Kyle Sweitzer, A. Emiko Blalock, Dhruv B. Sharma

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pp. 288-308

In this chapter, Sweitzer, Blalock, and Sharma use institutional theory to better understand a postsecondary institution’s decision to adopt a test-optional admissions policy. They then empirically examine the impact of these decisions on a range of objectives and outcomes. Specifically, they focus on whether going test-optional, on average, can be expected to increase an institution’s average SAT scores, ...

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Conclusion: The Future of College Admissions

Jack Buckley, Lynn Letukas, Ben Wildavsky

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pp. 309-312

When we conceived this project, our central goal was to assemble an authoritative collection of some newer research on admissions testing, with an emphasis on methodological rigor that has too often been lacking from the testing debate. Beyond pure research, we also wanted to devote some attention to the on-the-ground perspective of college enrollment officers ...

Contributors

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pp. 313-320

Index

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pp. 321-330