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v2.1 Reference

Measuring Success

Testing, Grades, and the Future of College Admissions

For more than seventy-five years, standardized tests have been considered a vital tool for gauging students’ readiness for college. However, few people—including students, parents, teachers, and policy makers—understand how tests like the SAT or ACT are used in admissions decisions. Once touted as the best way to compare students from diverse backgrounds, these tests are now increasingly criticized as being biased in favor of traditionally privileged groups. A small but growing number of colleges have made such testing optional for applicants.

Is this the right way to go? Measuring Success investigates the research and policy implications of test-optional practices, considering both sides of the debate. Does a test-optional policy result in a more diverse student body or improve attainment and retention rates? Drawing upon the expertise of higher education researchers, admissions officers, enrollment managers, and policy professionals, this volume is among the first to investigate the research and policy implications of test-optional practices.

Although the test-optional movement has received ample attention, its claims have rarely been subjected to empirical scrutiny. This volume provides a much-needed evaluation of the use and value of standardized admissions tests in an era of widespread grade inflation. It will be of great value to those seeking to strike the proper balance between uniformity and fairness in higher education.

Contributors: Andrew S. Belasco, A. Emiko Blalock, William G. Bowen, Jim Brooks, Matthew M. Chingos, James C. Hearn, Michael Hurwitz, Jonathan Jacobs, Nathan R. Kuncel, Jason Lee, Jerome A. Lucido, Eric Maguire, Krista Mattern, Michael S. McPherson, Kelly O. Rosinger, Paul R. Sackett, Edgar Sanchez, Dhruv B. Sharma, Emily J. Shaw, Kyle Sweitzer, Roger J. Thompson, Meredith Welch, Rebecca Zwick

About the Authors

Jack Buckley is the senior vice president of research and evaluation at the American Institutes for Research and a research associate professor of applied statistics at New York University. He is the coauthor of Charter Schools: Hope or Hype? Lynn Letukas is an associate research scientist at the College Board. She is the author of Primetime Pundits: How Cable News Covers Social Issues. Ben Wildavsky is senior fellow and executive director at the College Board Policy Center. He is the author of The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities are Reshaping the World.

Endorsements

"Standardized tests have long been a pillar of the American meritocracy. This book brings new data and penetrating insight to the question of how colleges can better understand testing, admissions, and themselves."

- Kevin Carey, author of The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere

"This book represents a comprehensive and insightful take on standardized assessments and test-optional admissions in higher education, featuring experts with a variety of perspectives and experiences on the topic. Measuring Success will be a useful reference for higher education professionals for years to come."

- Robert Kelchen, Seton Hall University, author of Higher Education Accountability

"A must-read for any enrollment leader. Complex admissions policy decisions require data and thoughtful analysis, and Measuring Success provides this breadth of discussion, viewpoint, and research on a critical issue all in one place. As a dean of college admissions, I deeply appreciate the editors’ and authors’ commitment to rigorous inquiry."

- James G. Nondorf, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Advancement, University of Chicago

"Standardized testing is such a prominent, and frequently misunderstood, part of the college admissions process. This important book pulls together the relevant research from all sides of the issue."

- Stu Schmill, Dean of Admissions and Student Financial Services, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Johns Hopkins University Press
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