A New Way to Measure Student Success


Could a video game ever replace standardized testing’s role in college admission?

Enter 27-year-old Rebecca Kantar and Imbellus Inc., her start-up that aims to reinvent testing.

Imbellus wasn’t started with the recent bribery scandal in mind, but Kantar told Bloomberg Businessweek that it is “cheatproof.”

Rather than a multiple-choice test, Imbellus has created a digital assessment that looks and works like a video game. It puts users in a simulated natural environment and tracks the users’ decision-making techniques, capabilities, and process. Every simulation is unique.

Kantar hopes to show colleges and universities that measuring the decision-making process is a better predictor of student success.

“It’s not an aptitude problem—it’s a practice problem. They aren’t practicing the right kind of thinking,” she said.

Kantar plans to begin giving the test to high schoolers this year and hopes to test 100,000 students by the year 2022.

“It’s less about who does and does not get into Harvard. Yeah, that matters. It’s a topic,” she said. “But it’s secondary to changing the default settings of the education-to-employment system so that it works better for all kids.”

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at adobson@nacacnet.org.

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