Option allows students to report SAT scores by date

A new SAT score-reporting option that allows students more flexibility in the college application process will not affect TCU, a university official said.

The College Board option, Score Choice, allows students to decide which scores – by test date – universities will be able to see, said Wes Waggoner, director of freshman admissions.

Waggoner said the university will continue to use its policy of accepting applicants’ highest scores from each section, regardless of test dates.

Students applying to TCU may use Score Choice to submit their scores, but it might not be in their interest to do so because the admissions office will only be able to see scores from one test date, Waggoner said. This means the university might not be seeing students’ best scores from all three sections of the test, he said. However, students will also have the option of using Score Choice to send scores from multiple test dates, he said.

Alana Klein, a communications and marketing director for the College Board, said colleges and universities have always set their own admissions policies and with Score Choice, they will continue to do so.

“With Score Choice, the College Board is giving colleges and universities the opportunity to clearly express their score-use practices to students on CollegeBoard.com,” Klein said.

Klein said Score Choice was designed to reduce student stress and enhance the test-taking experience for students.

But Score Choice will probably not end up helping students, said Robert Schaeffer, the public education director of FairTest, an organization dedicated to preventing the misuse of standardized tests.

“Score Choice was designed to ease student stress, but now it is even more confusing and more stressful for students,” Schaeffer said.

Score Choice adds more gamesmanship in the college admission process, Schaeffer said.

He said many schools such as Yale, Stanford, USC and Cornell are just a few that will not be implementing Score Choice and will stick with their own policies.

Jason Locke, a director of undergraduate admission at Cornell University, said the Score Choice program will lead to students taking the SAT more times than they should.

“Contrary to the College Board’s statement that they hoped to ‘reduce student stress and improve the test-day experience’ with this new option, we believe that Score Choice will only encourage more students to take the test many more times than is necessary,” Locke wrote in an e-mail.

Locke said they also believe that students will needlessly agonize over which scores to submit as part of the admissions application process.

Waggoner said the general view among college admissions is that SAT scores belong to students, but an individual college can create a policy that requires students to send all of their SAT scores.

“The policy is between the student and college,” Waggoner said. “The student can still choose which scores to send, but that student must decide if they are going to be in violation of the college’s policy.”

Another controversy surrounding Score Choice involves lower-income families. Schaeffer said Score Choice gives more advantages to students who can afford to take the test more often.

Klein said the College Board doesn’t recommend students take the test more than twice. The organization has an extensive fee-waiver program for low-income students, she said.

Schaeffer said the College Board gives low-income families two fee waivers.

Waggoner said the majority of students only take the test once or twice.

“TCU encourages students to take the test more than once, but after that it is not really necessary,” Waggoner said.

Klein said Score Choice was created because of an overwhelming number of student requests to have more control over their scores.

Despite the student requests, Schaeffer said FairTest believes that the best answer of all is to “de-emphasize standardized tests and end the game all together,”

The new policy will be implemented beginning with the March test dates, Klein said.