Many more colleges are going SAT and ACT Test Optional

The spread of COVID-19 and reduced testing opportunities for students has led to a number of colleges going test-optional for this year’s testing cycle. This may be something temporary or herald a shift in the way colleges assess applicants in the future. You can read more about this here:

The SAT and ACT have long been used as broad measuring sticks to help higher education compare students academically across high schools and winnow down, in some cases, tens of thousands of applications each year.

But critics point to a growing body of research that shows significant gaps between test takers based on race, household income and family background, leaving otherwise good students at a disadvantage – particularly when it comes to affording the cost for test preparation.

“As the population coming out of high school becomes increasingly diversified, the standardized tests serve as a barrier to access for students from historically disenfranchised backgrounds – black, brown, Native American, new Asian immigrant, first-generation, second language, low income,” said Robert Schaeffer, interim director for the National Center for Fair & Open Testing.

At D’Youville, faculty felt that removing the tests as a requirement would be one way to promote diversity in the student body and, ultimately, the workforce within the health care fields, where the college has an emphasis, said D’Youville President Lorrie Clemo.

“When I arrived here that was one of the considerations that came forward from the faculty almost immediately,” Clemo said.

Nationally, the shift from the exams has become more common over the past couple decades. What had started as a handful of test-optional colleges in the late 1980s had grown to 1,040 by the end of 2019, Schaeffer said.

Now, with Covid-19, some 200 institutions announced this spring that they will go test optional for the fall 2021 raising that number to 1,240 – and counting, Schaeffer said.

“We’re at the point where more than half of all four-year schools in the nation are test optional,” Schaeffer said.

“The issue will come six to eight months from now when those schools need to decide whether they will extend the test-optional policy beyond the one-year suspension for Covid,” he said.


No Comments Yet

Comments are closed