The college admissions bribery scandal has provided additional energy to the debate over whether U.S. colleges and universities should stop requiring admissions tests.
It’s true that there’s too much “gaming” of the tests, most of it of the legal variety in which coaching students how to do well on the ACT or SAT has become a cottage industry.
Nevertheless, the standardized tests still serve a valuable purpose as a sanity check against a student’s high school transcript.
Mississippi offers a perfect case in point.
Although the state Department of Education has been boasting in recent years about a graduation rate that is now approaching 85 percent, the ACT paints a much less rosy picture.
In 2018, only 21 percent of Mississippi’s high school graduates met three out of the four ACT benchmarks indicating they were ready to do college-level work. Only 12 percent met all four.
That means there’s a whole lot of either low expectations or grade inflation going on in this state’s schools. That’s something colleges, especially the more rigorous ones, need to know so they don’t admit students who can’t handle the work.