Standardized tests have been part of the national college admission process since the early days of the twentieth century, and their weight has only grown with each decade. Despite the ongoing debate over their predictive validity, their ability to quickly evaluate large student populations in a time of growing application numbers has solidified their position among admission decision factors. The Report of the NACAC Commission on the Use of Standardized Testing in Undergraduate Admission indicates the willingness of college admission stakeholders to continue the national conversation about the use and importance of standardized tests. Since the formation of the Commission, NACAC has been working with testing experts to produce informational materials on the current state of admission testing and develop recommendations for best practices.
At the 2010 National Conference in St. Louis, NACAC revised a section of its code of ethics to reflect the latest trends in standardized admission testing. While the Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP) still advises all members to seek out training materials about specific tests from the test sponsoring agencies, new language now directs NACAC members toward valid, unbiased training on fundamental test concepts. The recently amended SPGP advises members to:
"...educate staff in understanding the concepts of test measurement, test interpretation, and test use so they may consider standardized tests in their appropriate context. Such education may be obtained from NACAC, institutions of higher education, or other associations that are independent of companies that sponsor the test or test preparation activities or have stated positions for or against test usage."
This edition of the Briefing Room summarizes the work of NACAC's Commission and highlights the importance of independent validity studies. The podcasts in this edition provide valuable perspectives from several admission directors and illustrate important test concepts. The insights contained in each one will undoubtedly serve your efforts to evaluate the practice of admission testing at your institution.