Hillsdale stu­dents scored lower than in pre­vious years on the annual Edu­ca­tional Testing Service pro­fi­ciency test, though they scored higher than the national average. Mar­keting Department | Courtesy

The results for the 2018 – 2019 ETS Pro­fi­ciency Profile are in, and Hillsdale stu­dents scored lower than pre­vious years.

Every year, a random sam­pling of 50 Hillsdale College seniors take the Edu­ca­tional Testing Service pro­fi­ciency profile, which com­pares Hillsdale stu­dents’ ability to other stu­dents across the nation. Stu­dents are tested on critical thinking, writing, reading, math, human­ities, social sci­ences, and natural sci­ences. More than 230 insti­tu­tions, including Hillsdale College, par­tic­i­pated in the test this year.

“The purpose of the pro­fi­ciency profile is for the college itself to look at how the under­grad­uates are doing based on these very broad, standard skill sub­jects and to benchmark stu­dents’ per­for­mance against stu­dents’ per­for­mance nationwide at other insti­tu­tions,” said Hillsdale College Director of Insti­tu­tional Research George Allen. “The results of the test are not used directly to change policies or prac­tices or to change ped­a­gogical approach. It really is a due dili­gence measure — con­stantly taking the aca­demic tem­per­ature of the student body.”

Hillsdale stu­dents have always per­formed well on the ETS pro­fi­ciency profile, and the class of 2018 scored an average of 480.2 points out of 500, according to Hillsdale College’s ETS Pro­fi­ciency Profile Assessment. The years prior include 482.4 points for the 2016 – 2017 school year, and 480.5 for the 2015 – 2016 school year. This year, however, Hillsdale seniors scored lower than pre­vious years with a score of 477.9, dropping 2.3 points from last year. The nationwide average is 446.2 points.

When asked about this year’s per­for­mance, George Allen said the drop was not sig­nif­icant.

“The dif­ference is so small that it doesn’t indicate any­thing sig­nif­icant,” Allen said. “When you’re looking at insti­tu­tional averages, we’re still in the 99th per­centile of the insti­tu­tional average total score. If we dropped a per­centile point or two, that might be sig­nif­icant, but this very small vari­ation in the raw score I would not call a sig­nif­icant dif­ference.”

Allen credits seniors for the Hillsdale’s score.

“I do think that the results of the test are indicative that when it comes to these basic aca­demic skills,” he said. “At Hillsdale, we simply have a higher caliber of student than just the average American college.”