On Friday, The City Journal posted an article about some changes being made in the admissions policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The article reports:
This week, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced that it would once again require applicants to take standardized tests. “Our ability to accurately predict student academic success at MIT is significantly improved by considering standardized testing,” wrote the university’s dean of admissions, Stu Schmill. Parents and alumni largely hailed the decision.
Sanity, it seems, might be coming back. MIT needs the tests to remain MIT. Progressive critics of standardized testing say that a merit-based focus comes at the expense of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and they question the predictive value and objectivity of the tests. But the weight of the evidence shows that the tests indeed measure what they set out to measure.
The goal of any college should be to provide and education for its students and to work to help those students achieve academic success. If you are taking in students that are not able to learn at the level you are teaching, helping those students to achieve academic success is going to be an uphill battle.
Just for the record, this is the cost of tuition at MIT according to their website:
A term at MIT currently costs more than what my husband and I paid for our first house.
The article at The City Journal concludes:
Standardized tests are among the fairest assessment methods available. They not only predict academic talent across economic levels but also counter the mischief that holistic admissions allow. Schools can use holistic admissions to justify double standards on an individual level, or a wider range of biases against certain groups. As UC–Berkeley sociologist Jerome Karabel shows in his research on Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, holistic admissions were designed early in the twentieth century to limit the number of Jews at colleges. Later on, the targeted group became Asian students.
Standardized testing, with their emphasis on an objective measure, can be a tool of upward mobility. With holistic admissions, by contrast, wealthier families can shift their resources from test preparation—which even the poorest of families can pursue through public libraries—to purchasing edifying experiences, such as arts, athletics, summer programs, and unpaid internships. They can also purchase services, such as interview coaching and essay editing. These experiences and polished writing samples look good on applications, but they further punish those applicants who are qualified but lack such advantages. Grade inflation, too, benefits the wealthy: the Fordham Institute recently found that the phenomenon “worsened in schools attended by affluent students more than in those attended by lower-income pupils.”
Without standardized tests, American universities will confront obvious and difficult selection problems. MIT has decided on a better way.