Current Research/Resources: What Gets Tested Gets Taught: Cautions for Using College Admissions Tests in State Accountability Systems (June 2018)

This 2018 brief from Achieve discusses the use of college admissions tests (ACT or SAT) as summative assessments for state accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Achieve reviewed three independent studies to determine the value of using college admissions tests in lieu of state high school assessments. The findings indicate that college admissions tests were not aligned to state college- and career-readiness standards and were unable to measure how well students met their individual state’s math and English language arts (ELA) standards. The brief provides historical referents to the use of college admissions tests in high school accountability, a discussion of what college admissions tests measure, and implications of using college admissions tests for state accountability.

Recommendations for policymakers are as follows:

  • States and districts should not use the college admissions tests for accountability purposes in lieu of state math and ELA assessments.
  • States that have adopted the ACT or SAT should request an addendum to the test to improve alignment with the state’s college- and career-readiness standards.
  • States that have not adopted the ACT or SAT should make sure that their tests for accountability accurately reflect their college- and career-readiness standards.

View Resource

Newsletter Name
College- and Career-Readiness Standards & Assessment E-Newsletter