MORE AND MORE COLLEGES ARE GOING TEST-OPTIONAL
Academic institutions, like Barnard and Columbia, are omitting the requirement for standardized tests that measure academic knowledge, like the ACT and SAT, in the interest of increasing racial and socioeconomic diversity.
The question most admissions offices are asking is:
CAN TEST-FREE ADMISSIONS CREATE DIVERSITY AND FOSTER SUCCESS?
A Major Study Says Yes
According to a major study covering 28 colleges and 955,774 applicants:
Test-optional policies increased application rates 29% for private institutions and 11% for public.
Institutions with test-optional policies saw more minority applications and acceptances.
Students who did not submit test scores ended up just as successful as those who did within a few years at a university.
The results of this study are encouraging to universities looking to expand their diversity.
Skeptics Aren't So Sure
Johns Hopkins University Press released a book claiming that test-optional policies do not have direct causation on the increase in college diversity and success rates of students.
According to this New York Times article, decreasing the influence of test scores in college admissions enables unmonitored and highly subjective "rampant grade inflation" at high schools to skew admission rates.
There is also concern that the test was created for a reason: to make sure students can handle the rigors of college. How do institutes of higher learning justify giving high scores weight in whether a student is accepted while ignoring low or absent scores altogether?
THE FUTURE OF THE SAT
With the efficacy of test-optional policies in debate, will the SAT and other standardized tests keep their academic standing as an indicator of college-readiness? Only time will tell, but with the number of institutions jumping on board this trend, there will be no shortage of data to evaluate.
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