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Speaker Questions Role of SATs

April 17, 2005 – Why let a little thing like an SAT score keep you awake at night?
Bill Hiss of Bates College said it's not always worth the worry. He has 20 years of research to back up the claim that a good SAT score alone doesn't predict success in life.
"Those who submit SATs when applying to college and those who do not submit SATs when applying to college really don't end up in different situations when it comes to college majors, grade point averages, graduation rates, graduate school acceptances, and mid-career professional success," said Hiss in a press release.
Hiss will present his findings to parents, students and educators at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 21 at the Mark C. Marin Center at Antilles School. He will speak at Country Day School on St. Croix on Sunday, April 24. The talks are free and open to everyone.
Hiss will speak about a small but growing number of colleges that do not require SATs for admission, and about other ways that selective colleges make fine distinctions between promising candidates. Hiss also will work with students on identifying colleges that will provide the best places not simply to gain acceptance, but to grow, thrive and graduate.
"This is a minority position," said Chris Teare, assistant head master and college counselor at Antilles School. "The thing I'm trying to explain to kids at Antilles is that they have to hold two opposite notions in their minds at the same time. There is a 20-year study that shows SAT scores don't predict anything. But 99 percent of colleges still require them, so you better study like crazy and do the best you can to maximize your opportunity."
"This is an interesting opportunity for kids and parents to learn more about really good research that says you don't have to submit these scores," said Teare. "Understanding the transcript and the strength of courses they've taken is a more holistic evaluation."
Hiss graduated with honors in English from Bates College, earned a master's degree from the Harvard Divinity School and has a master's and a Ph.D. in American Literature and Religion from Tufts. His teaching and work experiences have led him to places as varied as East Harlem, the South Bronx, North Dakota and rural Maine.

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