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.”