Schwartz did not back SATs

October 2, 2008

Your report on recent research into US-style SATs was wrong in stating that the Schwartz inquiry into fair admissions recommended the use of these tests ("The week in higher education", 18 September).

As a former consultant to the Schwartz review, I would point out that it in fact recommended that additional assessment should be kept to a minimum, bearing in mind the potential burden on applicants. It did recognise that an additional test that is able to predict performance in higher education might uncover hidden talent and aid fair admissions.

But the Schwartz review's guiding principles were reliability, validity and relevance, and the review recommended that a national research study should be commissioned to assess the idea of a national test of potential. The research published by the National Foundation for Educational Research on the SATs is a further step towards increasing the evidence base underpinning admissions to higher education.

Sally Green, Corporate policy adviser, University of Sheffield.

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