Do GPAs and SAT/ACT scores reflect a student’s ability to succeed in college? Umm. NO! We’ve known this for decades, yet schools keep ramping up pressure to get good grades in AP classes and colleges use rubrics that heavily weight GPAs and SAT/ACT scores when admitting incoming classes each year. But, this is beginning to change now that over 100 elite private high schools plan to replace traditional transcripts with competency-based, non-standardized documents without grades using the Mastery Transcript Consortium.
The goal here is to change the way colleges admit students by eliminating the traditional transcript. Yup! The Mastery Transcript Consortium will evaluate students based on levels of proficiency in various areas:
1. Analytical and Creative Thinking
2. Complex Communication: Oral and Written
3. Leadership and Teamwork
4. Digital and Quantitative Literacy
5. Global Perspective
6. Adaptability, Initiative, and Risk-Taking
7. Integrity and Ethical Decision-Making
8. Habits of Mind
By creating portfolios to demonstrate projects, experiments, and works of art produced by students, colleges would get a more comprehensive look at the student. But this movement intends to eliminate grades and standardized test scores completely, which I doubt colleges will accept or adopt anytime soon. I think that a combination of GPAs, SAT/ACT scores, and projects would be the better option because it checks to see if students have the academic foundation (skills needed to enter college) and the creative and entrepreneurial prowess (skills to think outside the box and become innovative leaders) to become successful students in college.
I believe that students who do independent projects (ProjectMERIT) become confident innovative thinkers – the kind of young adults we need to solve the many problems we as a society face today. I am pleased to see other high schools challenging the institutional evaluations and hope that colleges welcome new ways to efficiently select their new incoming class of students.