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Opinion

Commentary: Wake Forest On The Right Track

http://66.225.205.104/CM20120112.mp3

It's been nearly four years since Wake Forest announced it would no longer require SAT or ACT scores for college admission. The decision received a lot of attention in part because Wake Forest is a prestigious school. Now, according to a story in the Raleigh News and Observer, Wake Forest reports that its quality of students is improving because of the policy. That doesn't surprise commentator Bill Diskin. As a parent, I've never cared much about SAT scores. I simply don't think they are an accurate indicator of how well our kids will do in college. I do believe the SAT is a great way to find out which students are skilled at taking standardized tests -- but not such a great tool for measuring a child's true academic ability or potential. Like many parents, my expectations for my children's education stretch far beyond their scores on any one test. I do recognize that my kids will probably have to jump through the SAT hoop to get into college. But I try not to fall into the "what did you get on your SAT?" trap. In fact, I'd much rather see my children do well on a variety of other indicators: * Are they inquisitive and persistent? * Can they communicate their ideas clearly? * Can they work well with classmates with different abilities and opinions? * Are they generous? Empathetic? Kind? These are the questions I have about how ready my children are for life outside of our home. But these are questions the SAT never asks. Sure, I love to hear that my daughter scored well on a science test. And I smile when my sons' vocabulary tests come home with 100 percent on the top. But, ultimately, I care more about the process my kids went through to achieve those scores. * Did they prepare properly? * Were they ready for a range of possible questions? * Were they respectful when they approached a teacher for help? The challenges our children will face in their futures have yet to be imagined. They will be called on to be far more creative, flexible, and adaptive than we have ever needed to be. I appreciate that the SAT has had its place in college admissions. But I will never believe that our children should be judged solely by the scores they get working alone, in complete silence, filling in bubbles, one Saturday during their junior year of high school. Our children are so much more than that. Hats off to Wake Forest for making the wise decision to take a closer look at their students -- than at their students' SAT scores. The results, in this case, speak for themselves. Commentator Bill Diskin is the admission director at Cannon School in Concord. He took the SAT in 1982 as part of his application to Indiana University at Pennsylvania.