Saturday, December 1, 2012

The real reason some colleges make SAT reporting optional for applicants

I sometimes think I should write a handbook for college admission officials titled “How to Play the U.S. News & World Report Ranking Game, and Win!” I would devote the first chapter to a tactic called “SAT optional.” The idea is simple: tell applicants that they can choose whether or not to submit their SAT or ACT scores. Predictably, those applicants with low scores or those who know that they score poorly on standardized aptitude tests will not submit. Those with high scores will submit. When the college computes the mean SAT or ACT score of its enrolled students, voilà! its average will have risen. And so too, it can fondly hope, will its status in the annual U.S. News & World Report’s college rankings.
--Colin Driver, President of Reed College, New York Times, 2006. HT: Michael Conlin, Stacy Dickert-Conlin, and Gabrielle Chapman, "Voluntary Disclosure and the Strategic Behavior of Colleges"