Every year, 1.5 million applicants to American colleges and universities take the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Over 1,500 colleges and universities either require or strongly recommend that applicants submit SAT scores. The College Entrance Examination Board and the Educational Testing Service claim that the SAT helps colleges select students, helps college-bound students select appropriate institutions, and furthers equality of opportunity. But does it really?
Drawing on three national surveys and on hundreds of studies conducted by colleges, James Crouse and Dale Trusheim refute the justifications the College Board and the ETS give for requiring high school students to take the SAT. They show that the test neither helps colleges and universities improve their admissions decisions nor helps applicants choose schools at which they will be successful. They outline the adverse effect the SAT has on students from nonwhite and low-income backgrounds. They also question the ability of the College Board and the ETS to monitor themselves adequately.
Crouse and Trusheim do not, however, recommend abolishing either college admissions testing or the College Board and the ETS. Rather, they propose dropping the SAT and relying on such already available measures as students' high school coursework and grades, and they raise the possibility that new achievement tests that measure the mastery of high school courses could be developed to replace the SAT. "The Case Against the SAT" provides important new information for policymakers, college and university administrators, and researchers in testing and measurement. It forces a rethinking not only of what admissions testing accomplishes now but also of what it might and should accomplish in the future.