FairTest Letter to the Editor in the Washington Times.

LETTER TO EDITOR: Test scores do not equal merit

Thursday, February 26, 2009

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