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Downsides of Decreasing the Significance of Standardized Exams in Higher Education

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Last Updated on October 24, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes

Title: Changes to College Admission Exams Can Reduce Earnings for Students, Study Finds

Byline: [Your Name], My MBA Career

[City, State] – A study conducted by Assistant Professor Evan Riehl has revealed that alterations to standardized college admission exams may lead to a decrease in earnings for both high- and low-income students. The research, focused on Colombia’s national college admission exam, concluded that while efforts to address bias favoring high-income students narrowed the score gap between the two groups, it came at the expense of accurately measuring essential abilities for college success.

The Colombian national college admission exam underwent a major redesign in 2000 to alleviate concerns regarding bias towards high-income students. Although the updated test successfully narrowed the test score disparities, it primarily did so by becoming a poorer predictor of abilities crucial for succeeding in college.

This transformation resulted in unintended consequences. Low-income students, now armed with higher scores, found themselves attending more selective colleges where they were academically unprepared, leading to decreased graduation rates and earnings. Conversely, high-income students were displaced to less-selective schools, also experiencing a decline in earnings.

Professor Riehl’s findings underscore the significance of well-designed college admission exams in ensuring a better match between students and colleges based on their academic preparedness. The study raises concerns surrounding the ongoing movement to minimize the role of standardized admission exams in the United States, with numerous selective colleges opting for test-optional or test-blind admissions.

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Recent changes made by the Educational Testing Service, such as the decision to reduce the length of the GRE by 50%, have added to the apprehension. These alterations might make it more challenging for admission committees to accurately identify and admit students who have the potential to succeed in their chosen programs.

While it is essential to prioritize fairness in college admissions, the study emphasizes that overhauled tests must accurately gauge a student’s preparedness for college. Moreover, colleges should utilize additional admission criteria to identify academically ready students.

The research conducted by Professor Riehl will be published in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Labor Economics, shedding light on the importance of thoughtful and well-designed college admission exams for the future of higher education.

For more information on this study and other related topics, visit My MBA Career today.

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Phyllis J. Broussard is an accomplished writer and educator with a passion for MBA courses. With years of experience in both academia and industry, she has established herself as an expert in the field of business education. Her writing on MBA courses is highly regarded for its depth of insight and practical application.

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