More than 8 million students enrolled in 4-year, degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States in 1996. The multifaceted system through which these students applied to and were selected by the approximately 2,240 institutions in which they enrolled is complex, to say the least; for students, parents, and advisers, it is often stressful and sometimes bewildering. This process raises important questions about the social goals that underlie the sorting of students, and it has been the subject of considerable controversy.
The role of standardized tests in this sorting process has been one of the principal flashpoints in discussions of its fairness. Tests have been cited as the chief evidence of unfairness in lawsuits over admissions decisions, criticized as biased against minorities and women, and blamed for the fierce competitiveness of the process. Yet tests have also been praised for their value in providing a common yardstick for comparing students from diverse schools with different grading standards.
Myths and Tradeoffs identifies and corrects some persistent myths about standardized admissions tests and highlight some of the specific tradeoffs that decisions about the uses of tests entail; presents conclusions and recommendations about the role of tests in college admissions; and lays out several issues about which information would clearly help decision makers, but about which the existing data are either insufficient or need synthesis and interpretation. This report will benefit a broad audience of college and university officials, state and other officials and lawmakers, and others who are wrestling with decisions about admissions policies, definitions of merit, legal actions, and other issues.
National Research Council. 1999. Myths and Tradeoffs: The Role of Tests in Undergraduate Admissions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/9632.
|What Do Colleges Really Do?||10-16|
|What Do Test Scores Really Mean?||17-27|
|Topics for Further Study||32-33|
|Appendix A: Agenda, Workshop on the Role of Tests in Higher Education Admission||37-40|
|Appendix B: Participants, Workshop on the Role of Tests in Higher Education Admission||41-44|
The Chapter Skim search tool presents what we've algorithmically identified as the most significant single chunk of text within every page in the chapter. You may select key terms to highlight them within pages of each chapter.
The National Academies Press (NAP) has partnered with Copyright Clearance Center's Rightslink service to offer you a variety of options for reusing NAP content. Through Rightslink, you may request permission to reprint NAP content in another publication, course pack, secure website, or other media. Rightslink allows you to instantly obtain permission, pay related fees, and print a license directly from the NAP website. The complete terms and conditions of your reuse license can be found in the license agreement that will be made available to you during the online order process. To request permission through Rightslink you are required to create an account by filling out a simple online form. The following list describes license reuses offered by the National Academies Press (NAP) through Rightslink:
Click here to obtain permission for the above reuses. If you have questions or comments concerning the Rightslink service, please contact:
Rightslink Customer Care
Tel (toll free): 877/622-5543
To request permission to distribute a PDF, please contact our Customer Service Department at 800-624-6242 for pricing.
To request permission to translate a book published by the National Academies Press or its imprint, the Joseph Henry Press, pleaseclick here to view more information.