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Evertsen et al.

Briana Evertsen, Amanda Leavitt, Sydney Park, Laura Solomon, Victoria Stark
Jennifer Courtney
Writing 2010
October 10, 2015
An Exploration of Academic Writing on Use of the ACT and SAT Admissions
"ACT College Readiness Benchmarks." ACT.org 2015. Web. 05 Oct.
These are diagrams from the ACT website that show the readiness
perceived from the ACT subject tests. It shows the college class and
subject, and what score you should get to be considered prepared.
According to the chart, you are prepared if you receive an 18 in
English, a 22 in Mathematics, a 22 in Reading, and a 23 in Science.
Although these numbers are shockingly low, there are still many
students who are considered prepared that dont make it through
Aleamoni, Lawrence M., and Linda Oboler. "ACT versus SAT in
predicting first semester GPA." Educational and Psychological
Measurement 38.2 (1978): 393-399.
Lawrence Aleamoni, of the University of Arizona, and Linda Oboler, of
the University of Illinois, conducted a study that compared the ACT
with the SAT and how they were able to predict first-semester GPA.
Many studies have been conducted to compare the abilities of these
tests, and for these studies investigators have concluded that both
tests are equally capable of predicting first-semester college grades.
However, when the two tests were used alone or along with the High
School Percentile Rank (HSPR) the results were the best prediction of
GPA, so the HSPR is the best single predictor of success.
Allen, Jeff, and Jim Sconing. Using ACT assessment scores to set
benchmarks for college readiness. ACT Research Report
Series 2005-3. ACT Incorporated, 2005.
A study was conducted to compare ACT scores against college
readiness. They looked at the course they were enrolled in, the sample
size, the various ACT scores achieved, and the percent that was
successful. Students were said to be successful if they achieved a B or
higher in the course. The ACT scores were listed by the first quartile,
median, and the third quartile. There were 61% of students successful
in English, 45% in math, 54% in reading, and 45% in science.
Anderson, Jenny. "University of Utah ACT Impact." Personal
interview by Sydney Park. Salt Lake City, Utah. 4 Oct. 2015.
I conducted an interview with my aunt about the ACTs impact in
admissions decisions at the University of Utah. She is currently an

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admissions representative for the university. At the U, the ACT has the
most impact when admitting freshman and transfer students. My aunt,
Jenny, said this was because they use the ACT as a predictor for
performance at the university. We also talked about any consideration
that would allow them to accept students that didnt have the desired
ACT score. Finally, we discussed any other scenarios that would allow
the university to look past a poor ACT score.
Blackey, Robert. So Many Choices, so Little Time: Strategies for
Understanding and Taking Multiple-Choice Exams in History.
Society for History Education 1.43 (2009): 53-66.
As time has gone on, standardized tests have developed more
questions and less time for each section. When standardized tests
were first developed, they were about measuring someones skill and
knowledge, but with the increase in questions and the decrease in
time, these tests have become more about strategy and less about
your own personal knowledge and ability to correctly answer a
question. Throughout the years, students have focused more on the
strategy to take the test rather than on the material. This was not what
the test creators had intended.
Brownstein, Andrew. "Colleges Debate Whether Dropping the SAT
Makes Them More Competitive." The Chronicle of Higher
Education (2001): A14. Print.
Universities dont admit to this, but the main reason they go testoptional is to boost their ranking. If a university goes test-optional
more students will apply thus making them look better. If a student has
high scores they will include them in their application. Theses scores
can potentially raise the universitys score average. These possibilities
make test-optional appealing, but they dont realize how hard it is to
move up in the rankings. Some universities fell in rankings after going
test-optional. In the end, going test-optional shows the
competitiveness in admission rather than the accuracy of the SAT as a
Camara, Wayne. "Defining and measuring college and career
readiness: A validation
framework." Educational
Measurement: Issues and Practice 32.4 (2013): 16-27.
This article clearly goes into the question of how to tell if a student is
prepared for college. Is a standard test like the ACT or SAT the way to
do this? This article gives alternative solutions to determining college
readiness. Wayne explains how college-readiness assessments can be
used correctly to validate how successful a student will be in college.
He answers the question of what college readiness is and what factors
are included. We can use this writing when explaining the options in
admission besides single placement tests.

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Espenshade, Thomas J., and C. Y. Chang. "Standardized admission

tests, college performance, and campus diversity."
Unpublished paper. An earlier version of this paper was
presented at the Conference on Rethinking College
Admissions, Wake Forest University. 2009.
Espenshade explains that many colleges are moving away from ACT
and SAT scores in admission or at least making them optional. With this
he shows the improvement to the school and student body. The
message of this paper is to prove that the ACT and SAT scores are not
needed to determine college admission. The writers specifically
exemplify a study of 461 universities admission deans and how they
weigh the scores of these standardized tests. This paper can be used
to strengthen the argument of the weight the ACT and SAT scores
should have on admissions by using these statistics.
Fletcher, Dan. "Standardized Testing." Time 11 Dec. 2009. Web. 01
Oct. 2015.
Standardized testing all began in China when workers had to take a
test to determine how they would perform in the work field. Slowly
Western Europe began to adopt standardized testing as a way to test
multiple students on the same material at one time. Slowly as the
years went on, this test evolved into a test that would measure the IQ
level of a person. The SAT was first developed then followed by the
ACT. Over time, the amount of questions and length of time has
Geiser, Saul and Maria Veronica Santelices. "Validity of High-School
Grades in Predicting Student Success beyond the Freshman
Year: High-School Record vs. Standardized Tests as Indicators
of Four-Year College Outcomes. Center for Studies in Higher
Education Research & Occasional Paper Series: CSHE. 6.07.
(2007). Web. 4 Oct. 2015.
The authors, from UC Berkeley, produced this article for the Center for
Studies in Higher Education as a follow-up to an earlier study, UC and
the SAT. This article challenges that student success can be
determined from standardized tests rather than high school GPA. The
study takes the same student data and compares it over a four year
period and concludes that high school GPA is a better indicator of
success and performance. This claim is similar to Hiss and Franks
article that concludes there is less impact when GPA is used rather
than the SAT for minority students.
Grabianowski, Ed. "A Brief History of the ACT." HowStuffWorks.com.
InfoSpace LLC, n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2015.
Two professors, from the University of Iowa, created the ACT in 1959.
The staff members were seeking a way to measure a students college

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readiness in one singular test. The test was first called the American
College Test but it is now abbreviated into being called the ACT. The
SAT was taken on both coasts while the ACT became popular in the
Midwest. As time has gone on more states have adopted the policy
requiring high school students to take the ACT. This is because there
have been scoring errors and dissatisfaction of the system for the SAT.
Haney, Walt. "Validity, Vaudeville, and Values: A Short History of
Social Concerns over Standardized Testing." American
Psychologist 36.10 (1981): 1021-034.
In this article, the topics of the need for standardized testing and how
students are learning less nowadays is discussed. It brings up several
topics that relate to the history of the ACT and SAT by discussing the
debates and how they have changed over the years. This article also
discusses the social value of standardized testing and what they can
do for a student in a social aspect such as college performance and
performance in the work field of their choice.
Hiss, William C., and Valerie W. Franks. "Defining promise: Optional
standardized testing policies in American college and
university admissions." Report of the National Association for
College Admission Counseling (2014). Web. 4 Oct. 2015.
The authors, both having many years of experience in research for the
admissions office as dean or assistant to the dean, prepared a study
for college/university admission offices to consider the value of
implementing optional standardized testing policies. The study takes
testing and cumulative GPA data from thirty-three public and private
colleges/universities. The results support more students applying and
successfully completing colleges for those who otherwise, if ACT/SAT
tests were required, would not apply. The article contains a lot of
quantitative data and summary tables which compare required testing
polices to non-required testing policies.
Hoover, Eric, and Beckie Supiano. "Wake Forest U. Joins Ranks of
Test-Optional Colleges." The Chronicle of Higher Education
39.54 (2008): A21. Print.
Views of the SAT/ACT very diversified. Wake Forest University is a
school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and is one of the most
prominent schools that have moved to test optional in their admissions
process. By making admissions test-optional, the school received a
large pool of applicants that was more diverse than every before. The
importance of tests has increased in admissions because of the
increase in applicants and applications. To prove the effectiveness of
the test-optional decision Wake Forest University has decided that the
admitted students will be required to send in their test scores before

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Hyman, Joshua. ACT for All: The effect of mandatory college

entrance exams on postsecondary attainment and choice.
Working paper, University of Michigan, 2013.
This article clearly states the effects of the ACT on students and the
choices they make in college. He goes into the problem of poor
students not having the same opportunity to be educated. Mostly we
will probably use this article to prove that when students get lower
scores on these entrance exams, they are forced to go a less selective
school or not go to college at all. Colleges that admit based off these
scores are limiting the education that students could potentially gain.
Jacobsen, Erik. "A (Mostly) Brief History of the SAT and ACT Tests."
Erikthered.com, 2014. Web. 04 Oct. 2015.
This timeline begins in the late 1800s where standardized testing
started to become a factor in college admissions. This began the
discussions about the need for standardized testing to be admitted into
a college or university. As the timeline goes on through the years, it
points out specific and important events that have changed or
improved the ACT and SAT. It lists example questions from early tests
compared to the tests that students now take. It is a reliable and
accurate representation of how things have changed over time.
Marsh, Crystale M., Michael A. Vandehey, and George M. Diekoff. "A
Comparison of An Introductory Course To SAT/ACT Scores In
Predicting Student Performance." The Journal Of General
Education 57.4 (2008): 244-255.
The three authors of this article all hold Ph.D.s and performed this
study in behalf of the Pennsylvania State University. They assessed
students in General Psychology classes at a public university in the
Southwest United States and examined their SAT/ACT scores, GPAs,
and attempted and earned hours. Exams in General Psychology were
superior to the SAT/ACT in predicting GPA, supporting the use of an
introductory course as a "gateway" for identifying at-risk students and
engaging them in academic services. They discussed the dropout rate
of first-year students and how institutions can help at-risk students
before they dropout.
Maruyama, Geoffrey. "Assessing College Readiness Should We Be
Satisfied With ACT or Other Threshold Scores?." Educational
Researcher 41.7 (2012): 252-261.
This writing goes directly with our topic of ACT and SAT scores in
college admission. Maruyama basically says that universities should
not measure a students college readiness based off a single
assessment. He suggests to present readiness in terms of probabilities
and likelihoods rather than simply ready or not. He shows specific

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examples and studies of college readiness when a Minnesota Education

group studied a local high school and their math preparedness. We can
use this information when we give a call to action on how to fix the
problem in college admissions.
Radunzel, Justine and Julie Noble. "Predicting Long-Term College
Success through Degree Completion Using ACT [R] Composite
Score, ACT Benchmarks, and High School Grade Point
Average. ACT.org ACT Research Report Series, (2012-5): 1-80.
This study was done to predict long term college success based off of
ACT composite score, ACT benchmarks, and high school GPA. They
surveyed 194,000 students who enrolled as first time college students
between the Fall of 2000-2006. They look at the relation between the
score achieved and if and when the degree was completed. They also
looked at the probability of the students getting a passing score
versus the amount that actually did. This helps them to determine if
this score is actually a good predictor.
Robinson, Michael, and James Monks. "Making SAT Scores Optional
in Selective College Admissions: A Case Study." Economics of
Education Review 24.4 (2005): 393-405. Web. 4 Oct. 2015.
There has been little public analysis of the effects of an optional SAT
score submission policy in admissions. This paper examines the results
of the decision by Mount Holyoke College to make SAT scores optional
in admissions. Students who under-performed on the SAT were more
likely to withhold their scores. This resulted in students being rated
higher than they would have been before. These students had a lower
GPA than the students that didnt withhold, so the likelihood of them
being admitted was low. There are also a variety of charts that help to
make sense of all the information.
Rooney, Charles and B. Schaeffer. "Test Scores Do Not Equal Merit."
FairTest.org (1998). Web. 4 Oct. 2015
Charles Rooney talks to college administrations, trying to get their
attention to the issues of using ACT and SAT scores. He points out
gains of de-emphasizing the ACT and Sat in schools in terms of
diversity and quality of applicants. Has also adds in the idea of the
underrepresented groups that dont have the opportunity to get high
ACT and SAT scores. We can use this paper because the authors give
perfect examples of multiple colleges that dont base their admission
on these tests. They explain how well these universities are adding
diversity and academic excellence to the college atmosphere.
Sawyer, Richard. "Beyond correlations: Usefulness of high school
GPA and test scores in making college admissions decisions."
Applied measurement in education 26.2 (2013): 89-112.

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Richard Sawyer has used many mathematical calculations to figure out

the probabilities of the usefulness of high school GPA and test scores in
making college admission decisions. Analysis of data from some
institutions suggest that high school GPA is more useful than test
scores in situations involving low selectivity in admissions and minimal
to average academic performance in college. In contrast, test scores
are more useful than high school GPA in situations involving high
selectivity and high academic performance. In conclusion, high school
grades are more useful than test scores in making admission decisions,
but test scores have incremental usefulness.
Scott-Clayton, Judith E. "Do high-stakes placement exams predict
college success?." Columbia University Academic Commons.
(2012). Web. 4 Oct. 2015.
Judith E. Scott-Clayton, Senior Research Associate at Columbia
University, analyzed the predictive validity of the COMPASS. The
predictive power of placement exams is quite impressive given how
short they are. But overall the correlation between scores and later
course outcomes is relatively weak, especially with the high stakes that
are attached. Given that students succeed or fail in college-level
courses for many reasons beyond their scores on placement exams,
its questionable whether their use as the sole determinant of college
access can be justified on the basis of anything other than consistency
and efficiency.
Shanley, Brian J. "Test-Optional Admission at a Liberal Arts College:
A Founding Mission Affirmed." Harvard Educational Review
77.4 (2007): 429-35.
Providence College, a small liberal arts college, has always tried to
admit applicants that are from minority groups. In the admission
process they focus more on the grades the applicants received in high
school and what classes they took. They are now test-optional and do
not focus on standardized tests. Also, their scholarships are more need
based than merit based. This makes it so applicants that cannot afford
school have more of a chance to go and make it. They realize that
there is a lot at stake with this issue of standardized tests, and they
treat it with care.
Soares, Joseph A. SAT wars: The case for test-optional college
admissions. Teachers College Press, 2012.
In this book, Joseph A. Soares questions the admissions process in
universities. He specifically points out the weight that some schools
put on the ACT and SAT scores. Soares simply says that universities
should make their admission process test optional or no test score
required at all. He gives examples of many of the flaws in the SAT and
how it restricts many different types of social groups to participate and

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excel. We can use this paper when we explain who the scores are
hurting and why it is not a good indicator of a students college
Streetman, Chris. "Abolishing the ACT and SAT." Mckendree.edu
McKendree University (2012). Web. 2 Oct. 2015.
Mckendree University did a paper concerning the problems in the ACT
and SAT and why they should be abolished. They explain why these
tests are not reliable in showing the college readiness of any incoming
freshman. They specifically go over the tests problems and why
universities should not be taking their scores into account with
determining admission. This paper will be helpful when we need to add
specific reasons why the tests do not show how college ready a
student is and the issues that come from these tests in general.
Wainer, Howard. "Five Pitfalls Encountered While Trying To Compare
States on Their SAT Scores." J Educational Measurement
Journal of Educational Measurement 23.1 (1986): 69-81.
Howard works for the Educational Testing Service, and the Research
Statistics Project supports some of the research. In this journal Howard
Weiner draws inferences about the relative standing of the states on
basis of mean SAT scores. These papers make the point that in order to
do this they would have to statistically adjust for various differences
among the states. There are five serious errors that, when made, call
into question the validity of such inferences. He also gives a few
possible ways to avoid the errors.
Wiley, Andrew, Jeffrey Wyatt, and Wayne J. Camara. "The
development of a multidimensional college readiness index."
College Board (2010-3): 1-25. 7 Oct. 2015.
This document talks about what it means to be college prepared and
how the ACT relates. It gives information about whether or not
students are college prepared based off of their score on the ACT,
SAT score, high school GPA, academic rigor, and various independent
components. It splits the results by gender and ethnicity to help
determine some correlation in the occurrences. The results were
surprising to say the least. Only 45.7% of students were prepared for
college based off of their SAT score.
Young, John W. and Jennifer L. Kobrin. "Differential validity,
differential prediction, and college admission testing: A
comprehensive review and analysis." College Board (2001-6):
1-41. 7 Oct. 2015.
This study was done to look at ACT score in various ethnicities and
between genders. They then looked at the first year college GPA and
the cumulative college GPA. They took into consideration all of the

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predictor tests that the students took. A big finding was that different
races have very different outcomes either because of personal
adjustment, precollege preparation, and institutional factor. There was
also a big difference between genders. This could be due to differences
in majors, a gender bias in test scores, or differences in the
assignments of grades.
Zwick, Rebecca. "College Admissions in Twenty-First-Century
America: The Role of Grades, Tests, and Games of Chance."
Harvard Educational Review 77.4 (2007): 419-29.
SAT scores have been proven to have a correlation with the success of
students in universities. SAT and ACT tests are debated because they
are not fair to minorities. A new way to admit students is to admit the
top students in each high school. This way did not work because it
lowered the standards for the universities. The second way was
admission lotteries, but was soon thrown out because students with
lower academic scores were chosen over those with higher academic
scores. Small universities are able to choose more diverse applicants
while larger universities cant.
Zwick, Rebecca. Rethinking the SAT: The Future of Standardized
Testing in University Admissions. London: Taylor & Francis,
2004. Print.
This book focuses on the SAT itself and does not cover anything about
the ACT, but it is good for understanding the need for the SAT and
what the scores should and shouldnt be used for. It discusses the pros
and cons of the SAT providing views from many different sources. It
focuses on the highly controversial viewpoint of Richard Atkinson and
his belief that the SAT should not be a deciding factor in admission to a
university. This book supports the question posed about schools that
do not require a standardized test score and how their students
perform academically.