By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It used to be that getting into a good college or university depended on how high you scored on a standardized test. But with an average graduation rate of about 59-percent at four year schools, administrators are starting to rethink the selection process. As 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds, many schools now want to know a whole lot more about applicants before asking them to attend.
High school junior Gabe Doyle isn’t stressing over standardized test scores as he looks at colleges. He says, “if you’re not great at testing, then you’re not great at testing. I’d say it doesn’t really define how smart you are.” It also helps that Doyle knows several of the schools he’d like to attend are playing down the importance of the ACT and SAT.
According to Bob Schaeffer of FairTest.org, “Over the past decade about 110 more bachelor degree granting institutions have dropped their test score requirements and that includes some of the most competitive schools in the country.”
These days, schools are adding other systems, including special questionnaires, to help them figure out who has what it takes to finish a four-year degree. The goal of these new assessments is to measure things like perseverance, adaptability and situational judgment. The answers help give the school a better feel for the kind of person applying.
Some says this sort of evaluation helps level the playing field for many students who might not be able to afford tutoring and coaching to improve standardized test scores. Schaeffer says, “Several schools are now experimenting with questionnaires that ask about an individual’s interest in certain behaviors and are able to build a profile of student that is quite predictive of how well they’ll do in college and in life.”
Other recent research has found personality is more important than intelligence when it comes to success in education.