SAT not the only test
I enjoyed the August issue’s “Glimpse” of Richard Atkinson, especially the glances at the lucky accident by which he took the entrance exam, thus gaining admission to the College, and his shake-up of the SAT.
While it’s true that “the SAT will be reinvented” in 2006 to focus on achievement rather than aptitude, a test emphasizing achievement (“the form that the Chicago group advocated many years ago”) has helped students to plan for and gain entrance to college for many years. A principal developer of this test—the ACT Assessment—was a distinguished Chicago alumnus and dean, Ralph Tyler. PhD’27. In 1959 Dr. Tyler joined E. F. Lindquist of the University of Iowa and other educational-measurement specialists, in creating an achievement-oriented, curriculum-based alternative to the SAT. He later served for 13 years as chair of ACT’s board of trustees.
As a student at Chicago’s Austin High School in 1965 I took the ACT Assessment, which continues to be the predominant college-entrance exam in the Midwest. Ever since I was admitted as an early-decision candidate to the College, I’ve felt that the ACT helped open Chicago’s door to me.
Since 1984 I’ve worked at ACT, where one of our buildings is named in Dr. Tyler’s honor and where I had the pleasure of meeting him when he was a visiting scholar in 1991.
My work at ACT is editorial, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer my compliments to Mary Ruth Yoe for “The CMS Syndrome” (August/03) on the new edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. I’m enjoying getting acquainted with my desk copy of CMS 15 (the fourth edition I’ve worked with since I started editing at Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1971) and can see already the wealth of both aptitude and achievement reflected in it.
Dan Campion, AB’70
Iowa City, Iowa