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Holy Cross takes pass at requiring SAT, ACT

Susan Notes: A crack in the ETS monolith is welcome. Since the SAT and ACT don't predict success in college, it is also sensible policy. Colleges have much better options available for accessing student qualifications.

Calling them poor and biased predictors of student success, the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester has scuttled the SAT and ACT exams as admission requirements.

The new policy, which affects students starting in 2006, reflects school officials' concern about the exams' inherent racial and socioeconomic bias. School officials said they wanted applicants to focus more on their overall academic record rather than studying - and stressing out - for one test.

Anxiety over standardized admissions tests soared when the revamped SAT test with an essay debuted in March, officials said.

``After all the confusion and concern this spring, we just were more convinced than ever that this was the time to do it,'' Holy Cross spokeswoman Ellen Ryder said.

School officials, including the school's president, the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, had discussed nixing the requirement for years, Ryder said.

The school joins a number of other Bay State schools with ``test optional'' policies, including Mount Holyoke, Mount Ida and Wheaton colleges.

Bob Schaeffer of the Cambridge-based National Center for Fair & Open Testing applauded the move. ``The SAT is a barrier to access to otherwise qualified students who don't do well on the test,'' he said.

The move outlines a growing movement away from the use of standardized testing, which gained heightened attention when the University of California system threatened to drop the SAT requirement in 2001. The University of Massachusetts is required by the Board of Higher Education to require the SATs, said UMass spokesman William Wright.

But officials from other schools, including Boston University, call the tests a valuable part of the multifaceted and personalized admission process.

— Kimberly Atkins
Boston Herald


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