Enrollment Insights Podcast
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Enrollment Insights Podcast #32 – Akil Bello and Removing Meaningless Hoops (Including Standardized Tests)

In this episode:

In the Enrollment Insights Podcast, you’ll hear about novel solutions to problems, ways to make processes better for students, and the questions that spark internal reflection and end up changing entire processes.

In this episode, you will hear from Akil Bello. Akil is an educator, entrepreneur, and advocate who has worked in admissions testing and educational access for almost three decades. A nationally recognized authority on educational access, admissions, standardized testing, and admissions testing, Akil was a founding partner and CEO of Bell Curves, a test preparation company that helped schools and non-profit organizations understand standardized tests and admissions and develop affordable solutions for underserved students. Akil has also served as the Director of Equity and Access for The Princeton Review.

Currently, Akil serves as Senior Director of Advocacy and Advancement and he works to build resources and tools to guide policy and ensure that large-scale assessment tests are used responsibly and transparently to benefit students. Akil attended an HBCU and ultimately earned a bachelor’s degree from a university in Brooklyn.

0:00 – Introduction
1:13 – What’s something you tried that didn’t work?
2:19 – How Akil brings new ideas into his work
2:54 – Twitter as a brainstorming tool
4:22 – Making the internal case to move test-optional or test-blind
10:18 – Reconciling student/parent/counselor beliefs with desired behavior around testing and grades
13:50 – The false objectivity of testing
15:58 – ACT, SAT, CLT and flawder (a new term) metrics
18:10 – Be honest advocates for change
23:23 – Want to understand the barriers? “Do the thing yourself.”
26:50 – Predictive validity and Miss Cleoing decisions
29:17 – Graduation and retention rates are inputs
30:01 – Moving the needle on what parents and students see as important metrics
33:15 – Incremental change vs restarting from scratch
36:06 – What is the capacity of colleges?
39:23 – What is the purpose of college?
40:44 – Input metrics and the lack of measurements for what actually occurs at college
42:34 – Do we need campus visits as much as we think?
45:10 – A challenge: Post your standardized test scores online. Have faculty do the same. Then see how important they are.

Resources from the episode:

Connect with Akil on Twitter
FairTest (The National Center for Fair & Open Testing)

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Prior to coming to Niche in 2019 Will served 9 years at Manchester University in roles as an Admissions Counselor, Associate Director for Admissions Operations, Social Media Coordinator, and ultimately as Digital Strategist. Will surfaces tactical insights from user behavior and surveys to help higher ed build recruitment strategies. In addition to the Enrollment Insights blog, webinars, and podcast; Will is a frequent conference speaker and podcast guest. He has presented at NACAC, AACRAO-SEM, AMA Higher Ed, CASE V, EduWeb, and EMA. Will's work has been featured in Forbes, Inside Higher Ed, CNBC, CNN, the LA Times, and The New York Times among other outlets.