Many colleges and universities strongly emphasize students' Scholastic Aptitude Test results when selecting candidates for admission while other institutions of higher learning are deemphasizing the SAT. Are these test scores an accurate measure of a student's learning potential? What are some other means these institutions could use to measure a student's ability to succeed in college?

I feel that colleges shouldn't select students from the scores on the SATs simply because there are students who may want to attend Hampton, Virginia Tech, or Maryland, but because their scores on the SAT are too low, they are rejected.

I also feel that those students who have low scores should be given an easier test to better their scores.

The majority of the students have trouble remembering from one week to another, and to try and get them to remember something they read in the seventh grade I feel is outrageous. If I were to get a low score on my SAT and couldn't go to the college of my choice, I would be very upset.

I feel in the future, something can be done about the test itself, and the low scores by the students.

JEROME O. HOLMES

Crossland

I don't feel the SAT is a fair judgment of how successful a student will be in college. I think that students' grades and participation in activities should be studied before a student is admitted to college. Many outstanding students do not take tests well. They may be intimidated by the length of the test or may be less confident because they don't excel in vocabulary or math. The majority of the words and math problems {on the SAT} are not used in the classroom and the students are not prepared. However, how well students perform in the classroom and handle activities is sufficient to reflect that person's ability.

MATTHEW BARNHILL

Potomac

I do not believe the SAT displays an accurate account of a student's learning potential. The SAT is not similar to most tests given in the classroom setting. A student who is in the top of his class may perform poorly simply because of the way the test is designed. Preparation for the SAT is completely different from that of the student's day-to-day studies. A student who has not taken some sort of preparatory courses will be in a state of shock upon receiving the test. He/she may be asked to define words he/she has never seen before. Students are asked to answer questions on a page-long reading selection in which every other word may be eight or more syllables. The student may encounter math problems that may not contain any numbers.

An honor student may complete high school but feel his study was in vain because he scored poorly on the SAT. Instead of being proud of his years of academic accomplishments, a student may be ashamed because of one test.

EDWIN T. JOHNSON

Crossland

The SAT is a standardized test taken by students nationwide and often used by colleges as criteria for acceptance.

The dreaded test is very useful to schools receiving large numbers of applications from a wide range of students. Because it is the same type of test for everyone, the SAT is a more accurate measure of the applicant's abilities as compared to a grade-point average.

A college looking only at grades has to take into account teaching methods, class requirements and even class size. A pupil in a class of 10 may have to work harder and receive more attention than one in a class of 60.

The SAT shows the test-taker's strong and weak points, logical thinking skills, and reading comprehension. It is a way for schools to judge students by more than their abilty to memorize facts.

JENNIFER MOLINEAUX

Elizabeth Seton

As many juniors and seniors are preparing for the SAT, the accuracy of this test is still being questioned. However, I feel that the test scores do provide an accurate measure of a student's learning potential. The SAT gives a good picture of how much an individual student has learned and retained as compared to other students. I believe that a high score shows that the student hasn't confined his/her education to the classroom. It shows that the person has such a strong desire for knowledge that the student has explored different areas of learning and made good use of learning resources. Since that person was well prepared for the test, he/she will also be well prepared for college.

However, the SAT should not be the only means colleges and universities use to measure a student's ability to success on the college level. Since the tests are measuring how much a student knows, colleges and universities should also be concerned with what motivates the student and what his/her interests are. Admissions personnel should be sent a list of the courses the student is taking (with honors courses highlighted), accompanied by grades in each, class rank, and extra-curricular activities. Because a student may have a special talent in another area, anything the student has been recognized for publicly, such as awards in art contests, writing contests, etc., should also be taken into account. In this way, these institutions can learn the student's qualities which will be demonstrated during his/her college years.

SUSAN GVODZAS

Elizabeth Seton "Speak Out" Topic for October 8:

It has been suggested that students today are more fashion-conscious than students of the past. It is not uncommon for teen-agers to spend hundreds of dollars on clothes, jewelry or other material goods in the effort to be accepted or keep up with the latest styles. Are today's students too materialistic? Who sets the fashion trends? Does fashion-consciousness affect a students academic performance?

Responses should be no more than 150 words in length and typed or written legibly. Political-style cartoons on the topic are welcome and should be drawn on posterboard. All submissions should include the student's name, school and grade.

Responses should be addressed to: Weekly High School Section The Washington Post 1150 15th St. NW Washington, D.C. 20071

Deadline for responses is Monday, Sept. 28.