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2014 March

It’s tax time: Splurge when hiring an accountant

5 Times to Splurge and 5 Times to Save: In a personal finance article in US News and World Report Money, business professor Charles Lankau says you can’t afford to hire a bad accountant. “About 70 percent of American families have both spouses working, and middle-class and upper-middle class families don’t have time to do taxes properly. One big thing people waste money on is missed tax breaks that an accountant will be aware of. Accountant fees generally include audit protection as well.”

SAT success correlates with family income, grades do not

The Story Behind the SAT Overhaul: In a story for The New York Times Magazine on the SAT Overhaul, Todd Balf featured Wake Forest’s test optional policy and interviewed Joseph A. Soares, the sociology professor whose research has focused on weaknesses surrounding standardized testing. Balf writes:

Around the time the report came out — and following the publication of “The Power of Privilege,” by the Wake Forest University sociology professor Joseph A. Soares, an account of the way standardized tests contributed to discriminatory admissions policies at Yale — Wake Forest became the first highly rated institution (it regularly appears as a Top 30 university on the U.S. News & World Report college rankings) to announce a test-optional admissions policy. Follow-up studies at Wake Forest showed that the average high-school G.P.A. of incoming freshmen increased after the school stopped using standardized-test scores as a factor. Seventy-nine percent of its 2012 incoming class was in the top 10 percent of their high-school classes. Before going test-optional, that figure was in the low 60s. In addition, the school became less homogeneous. “The test highly correlates with family income,” says Soares, who also edited a book that, in part, examines the weak predictive validity of the SAT at the University of Georgia, Johns Hopkins University and Wake Forest. “High-school grades do not.” He continued, “We have a lot more social, racial and lifestyle diversity. You see it on campus. Wake Forest was a little too much like a J. Crew catalog before we went test-optional.”

SAT is no predictor of work success

Do SAT scores belong on your resume?: A recent blog post in the Wall Street Journal questions the value of employers asking applicants for their SAT scores. Joseph Soares, a sociology professor at Wake Forest University and author of “SAT Wars” is quoted in the piece. “It’s a terrible idea,” he says. “Even according to the test designers, this is supposed to predict, at best, grades in the first year of college. [The SAT] is not supposed to be a test that captures how well you’re going to do in life.”