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The importance of standardized tests

Thursday, July 30, 2015
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The importance of standardized tests
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One student's strength can be another's weakness. That's why when it comes to standardized tests, some students aren't able to display their true abilities, while others perform very well. While they aren't always the most accurate indicator of a student's skills and intelligence, standardized tests like the Graduate Record Exam are what many colleges use to make their decision on an applicant. However, that may be changing.

"Some schools are scaling back their focus on standardized tests."

Standardized Test Consideration
Some schools are scaling back their focus on standardized tests. Education Dive, a Web site showcasing news and trends in Education, reported on the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communication admissions requirements, which has recently evolved. For applicants with more than 10 years of professional experience, the GRE is not required. This decision was made after the school's online degree program began and the admissions team had the opportunity to reconsider the application process.

USC isn't the only college to review the need for standardized tests. SUNY Buffalo Law School is also joining the mix, according to the source. The school was one of several others that took advantage of the American Bar Association's recent update that allowed schools to admit 10 percent of students without considering their LSAT scores.

This decision was met with a mix of praise and skepticism by students and schools alike. 

"I think sometimes people equate standardized test requirements with prestige and maybe they saw this as a step down for us, but to be honest the academic accomplishments of students in UB's honors program are very impressive, if not more impressive than students who would be coming in with an LSAT score," Lindsay Sutton, associate director of admissions at SUNY Buffalo Law School, told Education Dive.

Schools are reconsidering the importance of standardized tests.Schools are reconsidering the importance of standardized tests.

The need for tests
Still, there's a reason why standardized tests were developed in the first place. They provide a baseline on which all candidates can be judged fairly, and they can help admissions officers decide between a series of stellar applicants.

Aside from giving schools insight into how an applicant measures up against his or her peers, the tests also have some other benefits. Kaplan Test Prep explained that a high GRE score is one of the main factors that allows students to outshine other applicants when it comes to receiving scholarships and assistantships. Therefore, not only is a high test score a way into a student's top choice school, but it's also a way to fund it. 

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