Colleges today face relentless legal challenges to affirmative action, pressuring them to keep refining policies to achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion on their campuses. The norm-shattering Covid-19 pandemic did something unexpected: It turned higher education, for a year or more, into a national experiment in admissions reform.
Its conclusion: Still, for all the immensely challenging disruptions the Covid pandemic brought to American education, colleges’ decreased dependence on standardized test scores offers a glimmer of hope for a fairer, more inclusive system. Now it is up to schools to accelerate this progress, rather than returning to the old norms of exclusion.
Over 50 years ago I took the SAT and to say my scores were abysmal, would be complimentary. With my scores, I was going to be fortunate to get accepted for a job at the car wash. Gratefully, several teachers in high school saw a bright light that I had not come to discern yet.
Dyslexia was not my friend and this was in a time that I did not know that this learning complication had a name. Understanding dyslexia with its linguistic demands, plus accepting being transgender, came much later in life.
Please note that I do not call dyslexia a learning disability; many do - I refuse. It is a complication that can be worked with but never completely overcome. Workarounds abound and in many ways it enhances other areas of performance. I highly recommend the book "The Gift of Dyslexia". Coincidentally, many of the world's great minds and innovators are and have been dyslexic.
From the Learning Disabilities Foundation:
Sir Richard Branson is an extraordinary individual who has dyslexia. As a dyslexic individual, his life story is empowering and awe-inspiring. Sir Richard Branson was a high school dropout at the age of 15. He went on to become a world-renowned billionaire investor, business magnate, author and philanthropist."
Dyslexia, as I describe it, is like being "word-blind". Just a color-blind person cannot distinguish color differentials, a dyslexic person sees the word they are thinking and not necessarily the word they have written. Although spell checkers are a lifeline, the wrong word, spelled correctly, can go uncaught.
I am ever so thankful for the teaches that saw me as more than a spelling challenged student. Papers returned many times looked like someone had bled-out with all the red marks. One teacher went to bat for me with his former college roommate, at the time Dean of an Engineering School. My teacher asked that I be given a chance. My high school principal also wrote a letter of recommendation and stated that I was more than a SAT score. Also, my state win in a creative electronics project helped.
The issue is: Whenever you put a dyslexic person under pressure (timed test), reading mistakes happen. My oldest daughter who has about the same level of dyslexia, got into college with a sports scholarship. We had similar SAT scores. To her credit, while in college, she formed a dyslexic support group and lobbied for untimed tests. I am so proud of her.
It is good to see colleges and universities are considering that a person is more than a test score. Diversity matters - The whole-person approach is so much better.