For those hoping that UR will abandon the SATs in its admissions process, don&t plan on it becoming a reality anytime soon.
UR will continue to use the tests as one of its many criteria in determining those qualified to attend the university.
Standardized tests make it possible to evaluate students on a national scale, said Neill Sanders, dean of undergraduate enrollment.
&The reason we use the ACT and the SAT is that we want to give students every possible opportunity to demonstrate in every way the skills they have,& Sanders said.
Last year, UR denied admission to several hundred applicants with SAT scores over 1300 while accepting many with scores below 1200, he said.
Recently, the SATs have come under renewed scrutiny from University of California President Richard Atkinson&s proposal that the SAT exams be non-mandatory for admission to the state university system.
&The SATs have acquired a mystique that&s clearly not wanted,& said Atkinson. &Who knows what they measure?&
Opponents to the test have frequently claimed that it is racially biased and gives preference to affluent students because they are able to enroll in prep courses such as those offered by Kaplan.
Around the UR community, reaction to President Atkinson&s recommendation and the SATs has been mixed.
UC is disadvantaged because it is unable to use affirmative action in its admissions, Provost Charles Phelps said.
&If I had to choose between diversity and SATs, I would choose diversity,& he said. However, &Taking the SATs out of the picture would hinder us.&
Dean of the College William Green views the tests differently.
&The SAT tests & claim to measure a trait, aptitude. So & the more of this trait you have, the better you are as an individual. This is a kind of educational eugenics,& he said.
&There are many more characteristics of a learner which the SAT doesn&t touch,& Green continued. &So far as I know, [the SATs] are only good indicators for one semester.&
UR should be looking for students that take charge and follow their interests, be competent to learn on their own and to improve the college community at-large, he said.
Assistant Dean of Learning Assistance Vicki Roth has also found that the SATs are deficient. It fails to measure creativity, perseverance and the abilities to ask questions and seek out information, she said. It also doesn&t gauge student collaboration and statement.
&I&m not really sure how well [the SATs] teaches students to be better students,& Roth said. &Maybe we need to invent some new tools over how well students will do in college.&
Currently, UR admits its freshman undergraduates based on standardized test scores, high school performance, class ranking, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation and other pertinent information.
However, interviews are not required.
&If you think that the SAT is a poor reflection because it is only three hours of your life, you have to remember that the interview is only 30 minutes,& Sanders said.
Eastman students are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores.
The applications are then run through a &reader rating& system. Each application is examined by an individual in the admissions department and then assigned a value between one and 10 with one corresponding to the best and 10 to the worst.
&It&s quite consistent,& said Phelps in regards to the accuracy of the reader ratings.
The applications are then discussed by the admissions committee and voted on. Rush Rhees Scholars are chosen from the students that are accepted.
As it stands now, the Rush Rhees Scholarship is furnished to students that &ordinarily& score a combined 1350 or higher on the SATs or a 31 or greater on the ACTs matched with equal &academic performance.&
&The key idea with the SAT score is to signal to prospective students with considerable assurance when they are eligible for the award, rather than making it more nebulous,& said Phelps. &[It is] to call attention to UR about its bright students.&
Since the Rush Rhees Scholarship was first offered in 1995, average SAT scores has climbed from 1230* in 1995 to 1315 in 2000.
*This figure is not recentered.