201: Test Optional Admissions 101: What, Why, Where, Who?

 test optional

SHOW NOTES

This episode is the first episode in Season 2 (yay!) and the first in a three-episode miniseries on testing. In this episode I sit down with Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director of FairTest: the national Center for Fair & Open Testing, a non-profit that advocates for better forms of student assessment.

Why is this podcast important? Some students assume they have to take the SAT or ACT or that all schools require these tests for all students--but that just ain't true, as Bob will tell you. In fact, Bob's got a list of test optional schools that he updates regularly, which I’ll let him tell you about.

On this episode we discuss:

  • Are standardized tests evil?
  • What are some other standardized test myths that people tend to believe?
  • To what extent does the SAT or ACT measure what students need to know in college?
  • Important statistics from “Crossing the Finish Line,” a book that outlines the research around how well standardized test scores predict actual student performance in life and in college.
  • What is the difference between “test optional” and “test flexible”?
  • If students don’t submit standardized test scores, does this have an impact on scholarships and financial aid?
  • Does applying to a college without a test score hurt a student’s chances?
  • Advice for students with test scores that are “just okay”

I love the perspective Bob brings and I think this conversation is a great way to begin this little mini-series on testing (and Season 2)! Enjoy.

PLAY-BY-PLAY

2:48 Who is Bob Schaeffer?
3:20 Are standardized tests evil?
4:24 What is the best determiner of high test scores?
5:50 Busting a few myths on standardized testing
7:05 To what extent does the SAT/ACT measure what students need to know in college?
7:30 How much do colleges need standardized tests in order to make their decisions?
9:52 Important statistics from “Crossing the Finish Line” 
11:06 What is the difference between “test optional” and “test flexible”?
12:13 What is FairTest?
13:23 The FairTest List of Test Optional Schools
14:13 Why do colleges choose to go test-optional?
15:21 What kinds of students benefit from colleges being test optional?
17:11 What do colleges ask for instead of test scores?
20:22 If students don’t submit standardized test scores, does this have an impact on scholarships and financial aid?
21:52 Does applying to a college without a test score hurt a student’s chances?
23:15 Advice for students with test scores that are “just okay”
25:35 Advice for homeschooled and international students who want to apply test optional
27:09 Advice for students looking for schools using the test optional school list
28:06 How to create a great college list
29:25 FairTest resources for counselors and colleges
30:28 Why colleges being test optional is so important to Bob
34:42 Advice from Bob for students who still plan to take standardized tests

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE