Students, universities debate efficiency of standardized tests

Kate Bigam

The average Kent State student’s score on the newly revamped SAT is 1018, more than 500 points lower than the national average score.

But nationwide, a number of universities have dropped SAT scores from their admissions requirements, indicating that perhaps low standardized test scores aren’t much of a problem.

The National Center for Fair and Open Testing lists more than 700 colleges that no longer not require SAT or ACT scores for admission. At least 24 of these universities are listed in U.S. News and World Report’s top 100 liberal arts colleges.

But don’t expect to see this trend make its way to Kent State anytime soon.

“I do not anticipate that Kent State will change our policy on requiring either SAT or ACT scores on admissions requirements to the university,” said Chuck Rickard, associate vice president for enrollment services.

Rickard said high school GPA, class rank and academic core courses are all factors in admitting students to Kent State.

“The number one predictor of success in college is the performance in the student’s academic college preparatory courses in high school,” Rickard said, emphasizing that test scores are just one factor used in determining admission.

A student with a low SAT score who has other outstanding credentials will not be negatively affected by low standardized test scores, Rickard said.

Freshman marketing major Travis Johns said he didn’t take the SAT in high school, but he likes the idea of getting rid of the SAT requirement.

“I feel that the standardized testing method is not an effective method for many students,” Johns said. “If these requirements were taken away, it would take pressure off of students.”

Johns, who chose to take the ACT instead of the SAT, said he focused on getting a good score primarily as a means toward qualifying for scholarships, rather than as a key factor in getting accepted to schools.

“I think high school seniors have enough to worry about and don’t need to waste time worrying about a test that, most likely, really won’t affect their college life,” Johns said.

Senior sociology major Britane Swank, however, credits her standardized test scores with helping her get into Kent State and dislikes the idea of doing away with the requirement.

“It’s a bad idea,” Swank said. “That’s what got me into school, I think.”

Swank said her test scores were stronger than her overall high school GPA. SAT and ACT scores allow students a second chance to impress admissions offices, she said, and without those scores, in-between students might slip through the cracks.

The SAT underwent changes in March 2005, when a writing portion was added to existing math and verbal portions. The Test Prep section of, a Web site designed to help students in collegiate endeavors, lists 1520 as the national average for the new SAT, out of a possible score of 2400.

However, data from Maine’s Bates College, one of the first competitive liberal arts colleges to scrap the SAT requirement, reports that graduates’ high GPAs in no way correlated to high SAT scores upon their admission, according to Inside Higher Ed magazine’s Web site.

Contact administration reporter Kate Bigam at [email protected].