In search for students, universities test personality

As schools aim to boost graduation rates, some have lost confidence in the power of the standardised exams to predict which students will succeed in college. At the same time, the tests have been criticised for bias because, on average, white and Asian students, as well as those from wealthier families, score higher than African-American and Latino students and those from poorer families, writes Douglas Belkin for The Wall Street Journal.

With schools seeking to widen their net in their search for promising students, interest in non-cognitive, or non-academic, assessments has been growing. Of the approximately 3,000 four-year colleges and universities in the US, more than 850 are "test optional", with more than 100, including top-tier schools such as Bowdoin and Wake Forest, dropping the requirement in the last decade, according to Fair Test, a non-profit group critical of standardised testing.

Now, a handful of colleges are going beyond the subjectivity of essays such as those used at DePaul University and are asking students to take personality assessments to determine if they will do well. In the past few months, more than 2,000 high-school seniors who have been granted deferred admission to Michigan State University have filled out a nearly 100-question online 'behavioural inventory' that will help decide which of them gets into the school.
Full report on the BDLive site