March 3, 2014

Some Cornellians Support Optional Entrance Exams

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Though the University is not currently considering switching to a test-optional policy, some Cornell professors and students said they believe entrance exams have a minimal impact in determining college academic success.

Prof. Robert Sternberg, human development, said he thinks that the current system involving mandatory college entrance examinations has several flaws, including putting the burden of paying for the tests on applicants.

“I have long felt that the current testing system is unfortunate for many reasons,” he said. “The tests often create self-fulfilling prophecies, denying opportunities to those who need them most.”

Sternberg added that entrance examinations “perpetuate” existing class structures.

“Scores on the tests are highly correlated with parental socioeconomic status,” he said.

A study, released in February by the the National Association for College Admission and Counseling, concluded that students who choose not to take entrance examinations as part of their application process perform just as well academically in college as the ones who do.

The University’s undergraduate admissions office is located at 410 Thurston Avenue on North Campus. (Sami Briggs / Sun Staff Photographer)