Tiffany B. Brown

On merit beyond the SAT and ACT

Kaleidoscope has proved most helpful, Sternberg said, in helping admissions officers choose among the upper middle group of applicants. He noted that the mean SAT scores of the incoming freshman class at Tufts have improved every year since Kaleidoscope was introduced, and so has student body diversity. In the first year of its implementation, for the Class of 2011, Tufts admitted 30 percent more African Americans and 15 percent more Latinos than the year before. Today, people of color represent about 26 percent of the undergraduate student body of 5,000.

Melinda Burns reviews Robert Sternberg’s book, College Admissions for the 21st Century.

As Burns explains, Kaleidoscope is an extra section on the Tufts college application, a voluntary take-home test that about two-thirds of prospective students elect to complete. It measures creativity and critical thinking skills in addition to grades (which can be inflated) and standardized test scores (which have a strong class bias).

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