Assessment in Higher Education: Issues of Access, Quality, Student Development, and Public Policy

By Samuel J. Messick | Go to book overview

7
IMPLICATIONS OF STANDARDS-BASED REFORM FOR ADMISSIONS TESTING

Robert L. Linn
Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing. University of Colorado at Boulder

My focus here is on the standards-based educational reform movement and the implications of this movement for college admissions testing. In pursuit of this task, I will briefly describe the standards-based reform movement, its conceptual base and current status, and then turn to a discussion of its implications for admissions testing. Standards, of course, have long been a concern in college admissions. Hence, it may be worthwhile to mention this historical context before turning to the current standards-based reform movement.


STANDARDS FOR COLLEGE ADMISSIONS

In his review of the early entrance standards of American colleges, Fine ( 1946) begins with the following description of the examination required for entrance to Harvard College.

In those early days the Harvard examination procedure followed the pattern: The candidate was interviewed orally by the president or the senior tutor, during which time he was rigorously examined as to his character and background. Then came questions of intellectual attainments. On this point Harvard statutes read: "When any scholar is able to read Tully (Cicero) or such like classical authors extempore and to make and speak true Latin in verse and prose at sight, and decline perfectly the paradigms of nouns and verbs in the

-73-

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