ACT "Smokescreen" Focuses on Small Annual Score Changes but Hides Strong Link Between Test Results and Family Income

for further information:
Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773
Cell (239) 699-0468 for use with annual ACT score release — 12:01am Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A focus on minor year-to-year variations in ACT scores is “a smokescreen designed to divert attention from the flaws of the test and the rapidly growing number of colleges that do not require applicants to take any standardized entrance exam,” according to a national organization which leads the accelerating movement for test-optional admissions.

“ACT’s attempt to assign profound meaning to annual score changes averaging one tenth of a point ignores fundamental questions about the value of their exam,” explained Robert Schaeffer, Public Education Director of FairTest, the National Center for Fair & Open Testing. “Reliance on standardized tests skews admissions and scholarship awards to children from the most affluent households, as recent research on students at the University of California and the University of Texas has demonstrated. Perhaps that is why ACT stopped publishing data showing the direct link between test scores and family income.”

“Increasingly the ACT and SAT are seen as ‘wealth tests,’ not accurate predictors of a teenager’s capacity to do college academic work,” Schaeffer continued. “That is a major reason why more colleges and universities are moving toward test-optional admissions.” FairTest calculates that more than 740 accredited, bachelor-degree granting institutions now have test-optional policies for substantial numbers of applicants, with 21 colleges and universities dropping ACT and SAT testing requirements in just the past year.

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