That's right. As of January 10th this year, 1000 colleges and universities no longer require an entrance exam of any kind. Do you know how many didn't require a test in 1985?
What in the world has changed everyone's mind? It turns out after decades of SAT's and ACT's, studies show those tests don't predict success in college. Even when used in conjunction with academic grades from high school, they only raise their combined predictive power of college success by 1 to 4 percent. And even at its zenith, this duo only proves accurate 30% of the time. In other words, 70% of the time high school grades and test scores don't predict anything.
"College admissions remain more art than science. Fairness and merit are best served in a holistic review than in a numeric cutoff," according to Joseph Soares, a professor at Wake Forest University and editor of SAT Wars: The Case for Test-Optional Admissions. "The way I see it, testing is like a gold mine for the industry and like a penal factory for America’s youths. The energy, anxiety, effort, time and money spent on SAT or ACT tests for college admissions is wasted. The test industry takes time away from real learning, from literature, foreign languages, arts and sciences. It is time to toss admissions tests."
Where did these admissions tests come from in the first place? Were they like creatures from the black lagoon that just appeared one day? Not many people, even those in education, know the answer as to their origin. It turns out that the SAT was created in 1926 and was based on an U.S. Army mental test used in World War I to quickly and efficiently place individuals into their regimented roles. Is it any wonder then that we are finally verifying the SAT's inherent, underlying flaw?
The greatest danger of testing is that it not only forces schools to teach to the tests, but those tests force children to warp their own energy and interests. To listen to a different drummer, children must first wade against an often overwhelming torrent of energy that can cause them to buckle. But if parents and educators encourage children to chase after their own interests as opposed to test scores, as we do in Montessori education, children build a personal momentum that is almost impossible to stop.
Nevertheless, it is very encouraging that as each year passes since Montessori lectured us all, the world wakes up more and more to her timeless wisdom.