At Room for Debate on the opinion pages of The New York Times, editors ask five education professionals to debate the merits of the SAT as a college admissions tool, especially given the recent arrests of several students for cheating on the national test.
David Z. Hambrick, an associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University, says the SAT, although not perfect, is a good indicator of how well students will do in college and a measure of their intelligence.
Paul Siemens, director of Advantage Testing in Los Angeles, says a good score on the SAT can be achieved with “long-term rigorous preparation.” However, Jane S. Shaw, president of the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, says formal test preparation, for many students, might not be worth the cost. “Students can accomplish the same thing using aids available from the College Board and others at little or no cost,” she writes.
Fred Oswald, an associate professor of psychology at Rice University, agrees with Shaw’s point about the value of professional SAT coaching. “The reality is that test-takers can practice on their own to become familiar with the test format and review basic concepts,” he writes.
Alan T. Paynter, an assistant director of admissions at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., says the college admissions process should be more about what makes a student stand out, their extracurricular activities and classroom performance, as opposed to how well they take a test.
You can read the full debate here and weigh in with your comments.