By Robert J. Sternberg

SATs, ACTs, GPAs. we all know that those ratings can’t inform a school every thing that’s vital approximately an applicant. yet what else may still admissions officials search for, and the way can they are aware of it after they see it? In collage Admissions for the twenty first Century a number one researcher on intelligence and creativity deals a daring and functional method of collage admissions trying out. Standardized exams are measures of reminiscence and analytical talents. however the ever-changing worldwide society past a school campus wishes greater than simply these characteristics, argues Robert Sternberg. Tomorrow’s leaders and electorate additionally desire creativity, practicality, and knowledge. How can the opportunity of these complicated characteristics be measured? One solution is “Kaleidoscope,” a brand new initiative in undergraduate admissions, first used at Tufts college. Its open-ended questions for candidates, and the skill used to attain the solutions, supplies candidates and admissions officials the opportunity to head past standardized exams. Does it paintings? As Sternberg describes intimately, Kaleidoscope measures expected first-year educational good fortune, over and above SATs and highschool GPAs, and expected first-year extracurricular actions, management, and lively citizenship in addition. and each 12 months that Kaleidoscope measures have been used, the getting into class’s typical SATs and highschool GPAs went up too. What labored at Tufts can paintings in other places. New different types of checks, like Kaleidoscope, can free up many faculties and scholars from the narrowness of standardized checks and encourage new ways to instructing for brand new types of gifted, prompted voters of the realm.

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But they are not. Instead, the 10 percent figure of Herrnstein and Murray implies that IQ-like abilities matter some, but not much, for life success. Other abilities that are important for life may not be measured effectively by standardized tests. For example, the creative and practical skills that matter to success on the job typically are not measured on tests used to get into school. Society may be overvaluing a fairly narrow range of skills, even if that range of skills may not serve individuals particularly well on the job.

Admissions officers are trained to take such differences into account, HOW WE GOT HERE 45 but no one can do so perfectly because no one knows exactly what the effects of different upbringings are. Moreover, the first student likely will be at an advantage in college by having mastered the skills to achieve high grades. So the admissions officer must decide just to what extent he or she wants to take the background differences into account. Third, the college does not have to pay for the test—the student applicants do.

This historical fact makes it obvious how the United States and some other societies have created closed systems. Certain abilities are valued in instruction, such as memory and analytical abilities. Ability tests are then created that measure these abilities and, thus, predict school performance. Then assessments of achievement are designed that also assess these abilities. Thus it’s little wonder that ability tests are more predictive of school achievement than of success in the workplace. Within the closed system of the school, a narrow range of abilities leads to success on ability tests, in instruction, and COLLEGE ADMISSIONS AND TESTING 31 on achievement tests.

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