- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 26, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Columnist Ken Blackwell correctly identifies FairTest, the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, as the country’s leading organization seeking to “end the misuses and flaws of standardized testing.” (“Equal opportunities … not outcomes,” Op-Ed, Friday). However, he then distorts our assessment reform agenda and its impact.

Test-optional admissions, a policy FairTest has advocated for two decades, enhances both equity and academic excellence. Research at selective colleges that do not require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores before admissions decisions are made, such as Bates and Mount Holyoke, found that non-submitters earn similar grades and honors as those who submit test results.

At the University of Texas at Austin, students enrolled under the state’s Top 10% program, which automatically accepts applicants who did very well in high school without regard to their SAT or ACT performance, earn better grades than those admitted with much higher test scores.

All these schools became more diverse without any loss in academic quality.

More than 800 accredited bachelor-degree-granting institutions that admit all or many students without the ACT or SAT are listed on our Web site (www.fairtest.org/university/optional). Like FairTest, they have recognized that test scores do not equal merit.

JESSE MERMELL

Executive director

FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing

Boston

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