Sunday, April 08, 2001

R.I.P. SAT?


Area colleges continue to use test to screen students

        In February, University of California president Richard Atkinson ignited a national debate by proposing that his statewide university system drop consideration of high school students' Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) scores in admission decisions.

        While a number of U.S. colleges and universities have either abandoned or downplayed such tests in recent years, the vast majority still require them — and have no plans to change that.

        SAT detractors say the test is culturally biased, harming efforts to foster diversity on campus, and that colleges rely on its numerical scores too much in making admissions decisions.

        Supporters point out that it's the only truly uniform national yardstick to measure student achievement in an era of high-school grade inflation, and that when combined with other criteria it can be an excellent predictor of college success.

        We asked the presidents of several area colleges and university to outline their schools' stance on use of the SAT. Here are their comments:

James C. Garland, president, Miami University
James C. Votruba, president, Northern Kentucky University
E. Joseph Lee, president-elect, Thomas More College
Joseph A. Steger, president, University of Cincinnati
Michael J. Graham, S.J., president, Xavier University