Last Updated on October 19, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
Title: Standardized Admission Exams: A Crucial Factor in Students’ Future Earnings
In a recent study conducted by Assistant Professor Evan Riehl, it has been found that standardized college admission exams, while aiming to eliminate bias, may inadvertently lead to reduced earnings for both high- and low-income students. Riehl’s research focused on the national college admission exam in Colombia, which underwent a redesign in 2000 to address concerns about favoring high-income students.
The modifications made to the exam successfully closed the gap in test scores between high- and low-income students. However, this achievement came at the expense of compromising its effectiveness in assessing abilities significant for college success. Consequently, the changes caused a ripple effect, whereby low-income students found themselves attending more rigorous, selective colleges for which they were ill-prepared. Simultaneously, high-income students were displaced to less-selective schools, resulting in decreased graduation rates and earning potential for both groups.
Riehl’s findings indicate that well-designed college admission exams, accurately matching students’ academic preparedness with appropriate colleges, can lead to higher graduation rates and ultimately, higher earning potential. This revelation serves as a stern caution against the growing movement to reduce the role of standardized admission exams in the United States.
Implications are significant, as the reduction in the role of standardized admission exams can create significant difficulties for admission committees when identifying and admitting students who possess the necessary qualifications to succeed in their chosen programs. As such, colleges and universities must carefully consider alternative admission criteria to ensure they can accurately select academically prepared students for their institutions.
This study underlines the importance of striking a balance between equalizing access to higher education and maintaining standards to guarantee student success. It suggests that colleges and universities should continue to rely on standardized admission exams while simultaneously exploring supplementary criteria that can effectively assess applicants’ academic preparation.
Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that all students, regardless of their economic background, receive adequate support and opportunities to thrive in their chosen fields. By adopting a holistic approach to college admissions, universities can guarantee that academically deserving students have the chance to excel, leading to higher graduation rates, greater earning potential, and a more equitable career trajectory.