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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tufts to weight the whole mind as part of new admissions policy

Remember how ironic it is that NCLB focuses exclusively on left-brain smarts? Of course elite universities have long bought into this paradigm ala the SAT and ACT, but the times they are a changing. Starting this year, Tufts University will include assessments designed to measure R-Directed aptitudes in their admissions process. Tufts will weight analytical ability, academic history, and now…creativity when evaluating applicants.

The reason for the shift is because Robert Sternberg is the new dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University. Sternberg is the noted creator of the Rainbow Project--a battery of tests that measure R-Directed aptitudes. Sternberg developed the Rainbow Project at Yale, and has published research that validates its ability to predict college success.

A student participating in the Rainbow Project may be asked to provide humorous captions to New Yorker cartoons, to write a story “using only a provided title as their guide", and to problem solve several real-life scenarios. Significantly, the Rainbow Project Test when used with the SAT is the best predictor of how well students will do in college.

Tufts is piloting the use of the Rainbow Project as part of their admissions policy. The test will be administered to students who wish to add it to their admissions packet. Tufts administrators see the Rainbow Project as a way to distinguish students who are on the admissions borderline.

Sternberg describes it this way, “It’s not that the analytical skills aren’t important, but they aren’t enough. We have to stop putting so much emphasis on only a sliver of the abilities that kids bring to college.”

Related Articles

Tufts Gets Creative on Admissions
A Rainbow Approach to Admissions

Bravo, Tufts!

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