The Washington Post

Admissions 101: Do colleges with test-optional admissions inflate their U.S. News ratings?

A student works on a practice test at the ACT Boot Camp in Newport, Ky. Students attend eight hour sessions for five days preparing for the standardized college entrance exam. (Patrick Reddy/Associated Press)

Bob Schaeffer of FairTest, the nonprofit organization that monitors U.S. testing very closely, says this is not what is happening. U.S. News checked its data and found no advantage for test-optional schools. He says there are many ways colleges can pad their scores, such as not reporting athletes or students who enroll in spring or summer. I tend to agree with Schaeffer. I don't think any of these games make much of a difference in college rankings. But what do you think? What are Schaeffer and I missing?

Jay Mathews is an education columnist and blogger for the Washington Post, his employer for 40 years.


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