Students Are So Much Than Test Scores: How NC “Measures” Students VS. How Colleges Measure Them

This is what UNC-Chapel Hill looks for in a potential “college-ready” student.

There’s no specific set of qualities or accomplishments we’re looking for. Instead, we look for evidence that you are the type of person who sees opportunity in every challenge, who likes to tackle problems, and who will encourage classmates to greatness.

We don’t use formulas or cutoffs or thresholds; no one is automatically admitted or denied because of a single number. We read every application, thoroughly.


Not just test scores. lists the following on the website as the top criteria for college admission.

  • High School GPA and Class Rank
  • AP and Honors Classes
  • Challenging Extracurricular Activities
  • Volunteer and Work Experience
  • Test Scores 
  • Quality Recommendation Letters
  • A Well-Written Essay
  • Talents and Passions

And under the “Test Scores” heading, it says this:

“Not all schools rely as heavily on SAT and ACT scores as they used to, but it doesn’t hurt to take both tests and do as well as you can. Some schools don’t look at these tests at all while others may look at scores from additional tests including SAT Subject Tests and AP tests. Check with your chosen schools to find out which ones are required for admission.”

But consider what the state of North Carolina considers when trying to classify a student as “career and college ready” – test scores.

And look how schools are measured in our state’s performance grading system – test scores and algorithms.




One thought on “Students Are So Much Than Test Scores: How NC “Measures” Students VS. How Colleges Measure Them

  1. I recently spoke to an education advocate who went to the UNC BOG to discuss this exact problem. I asked her what alternative she suggested and she said a portfolio of the students’ work throughout their educational career. That way students would be judged based on their overall performance rather than just on test days. Doing so could really help open doors for students who don’t perform well on tests for any number of reasons.


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