Will other schools follow in the name of transparency (because—let’s be honest—although test-optional policies do have merit at some institutions, they do not increase transparency around the admissions process)?
After careful consideration, we have decided to reinstate our SAT/ACT requirement for future admissions cycles. Our research shows standardized tests help us better assess the academic preparedness of all applicants and also help us identify socioeconomically disadvantaged students who lack access to advanced coursework or other enrichment opportunities that would otherwise demonstrate their readiness for MIT. We believe a requirement is more equitable and transparent than a test-optional policy. In the post below — and in a separate conversation with MIT News today — I explain more about how we think this decision helps us advance our mission.
Some popular schools that have also rolled back COVID-era test-optional policies include UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Charlotte, East Carolina, Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, the University of Florida, New College of Florida, FSU, UCF, and USF (all State University System of Florida).
Dartmouth College announcedan anonymous $40 million gift that will enable the college to offer need-blind admissions to international students. That brings to six the number of colleges with the policy: Amherst College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Princeton and Yale.
Five students say leading colleges and universities are acting as an illegal “cartel” in violation of antitrust law. One of the students’ lawyers is a former prosecutor in the Varsity Blues case
According to an updatedlist released by the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), more than 1,815 colleges and universities now practice test-optional or test-blind admissions, an all-time high. The list includes nearly all of the nation’s most selective colleges and universities. At least 1,400 institutions have already extended those policies at least through the fall 2023 admissions cycle. Among the schools that will not require ACT or SAT tests from current high school juniors are well-known private institutions, such as Amherst, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, and Tufts. In addition, many public university systems including those in California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Oregon, and Washington will remain test-optional or test-blind.
Though more and more colleges are dropping their ACT and SAT requirements, test scores still count in the closely watched college rankings many folks love to hate. But that might not hold true for much longer.
U.S. News & World Report, which published its latest Best Colleges guide on Monday, once again factored incoming students’ average test scores into its measure of “student excellence” at each ranked college despite recent calls for the publication to remove the ACT and SAT from its methodology. This year, standardized test scores were weighted at 5 percent of an institution’s overall ranking, the same as last year (down from 7.75 percent previously).
But U.S. News did change one part of its methodology in an acknowledgment of the growing number of test-optional colleges. It’s known as the 75-percent rule. Previously, the publication reduced the weight of the ACT and SAT by 15 percent for test-optional colleges with fewer than three-quarters of incoming students submitting scores. “The lack of data, for 25 percent of students or more, likely means the ACT or SAT score is not representative of the entire class,” Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News, explained in a 2016 blog post. Some enrollment officials have said the policy — which can lower a college’s ranking — penalizes institutions that don’t require standardized tests.
This year, U.S.News lowered the threshold to 50 percent: Colleges received “full credit for their SAT/ACT performance” if at least half of their incoming students submitted a score. Just 4 percent of nearly 1,500 ranked colleges did not meet that 50-percent threshold. But “many” colleges, Morse wrote in an email, fell somewhere between 50 percent and 75 percent, though he and a U.S. News spokeswoman declined to say how many “many” was.
Read the full article here. [Source Th Chronicle of Higher Education]
ACT has added three new national test dates to its fall 2020 national testing schedule to provide more opportunities for students to earn a full ACT test score for admissions decisions, scholarship opportunities, placement, and college and career insights. These additions will help meet the demand for testing caused by COVID-19-related cancellations and social distancing requirements that limited test centers’ capacities this spring and summer. A total of eight test dates will be available for students for fall 2020 national testing.
Our priority is to expand access to full ACT testing, particularly for students in need of a composite score for admissions decisions, scholarship opportunities, placement, and career insights. In order to do this, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the rollout of section retesting, the option to take one section of the ACT® test at a time.
“Postponing the availability of section retesting for upcoming national ACT test dates will enable us to increase testing capacity for those who need to take the full ACT test,” said ACT CEO Janet Godwin. “Our priority is to provide seats for those students most impacted by COVID-19-related capacity limitations who still need a composite score. This decision will also ease the burden on higher education professionals who are navigating their own unique challenges in response to the pandemic.”
ACT remains committed to offering superscoring and online testing options at selected national test centers this fall. We will also provide an increased number of fee waivers and additional score reports to students from underserved backgrounds. In late fall/early winter, we plan to offer a remote proctoring solution, allowing students to take the test online, at home or at other safe and convenient locations. These options will improve students’ test-taking experience and increase their opportunities for college admissions and scholarships, while setting the stage for the future release of section retesting.
Looking at September 2020 Testing & Beyond:
Online testing with faster score results: Students will, for the first time, have the option of online or paper testing on national test days at ACT test centers (selected test centers initially, eventually expanding to all). The test is currently administered only on paper on national test dates. Online testing offers faster results compared to traditional paper-based administration—as early as two business days, compared to around two weeks. This faster turnaround time will benefit rising seniors in particular, as they prepare to meet application deadlines.
ACT superscoring: ACT will report a superscore for students who have taken the ACT test more than once, giving colleges the option to use the student’s best scores from all test administrations, rather than scores from just one sitting, in their admission and scholarship decisions. ACT research suggests that superscores are just as predictive—if not slightly more predictive—of first-year grades compared to other scoring methods.
ACT fee waivers: ACT will offer four fee waivers to qualifying students (double the number previously offered) and an unlimited number of free score reports will be available for students who have taken the ACT with a fee waiver so they may send their superscore or scores from any individual test, even those taken previously during the ACT national test and state and district tests.
Remote proctoring solution: In addition to these new options, ACT plans to roll out a remote proctoring solution on a limited basis in late fall/early winter. While more information will be released at a later date, ACT is working with a trusted, reliable partner to deliver this capability in safe and secure environments beyond students’ homes.
Students waiting to test should continue to prepare, though in a modified fashion. Continue to review relevant prep materials, though clearly with less intensity than if you were preparing for June. Students will have more time to prepare for the next official test, and research shows that students who put in more time preparing for these tests end up with higher scores.
Each subsequent test date should allow a larger portion of students across the country to complete their admissions tests. June was always going to be tough. The July ACT should allow more students to test, and the August SAT should accommodate even more students. By the fall, the vast majority of high schools and colleges in most markets across the country will likely have students on campus. At that time, administering these tests should be significantly easier. Continue to plan for your best testing outcome, even if you’ll have to wait longer than initially anticipated.
“ACT has a reputation for stodginess. Its eponymous test hasn’t had any substantial changes since 1989. Today, ACT just blew up that reputation. It announced superscore reporting, online testing on national test dates, and most radically, section retesting. The changes would go into effect starting in September 2020. EdWeek has been first to share reactions and ACT has provided a detailed FAQ, but a wide range of questions remain unanswered and we will have to wait and see how colleges respond.”
Applying to college is expensive! There’s application fees, test registration fees, official score reporting fees. Some students are eligible to have these fees waived, but most students don’t qualify for waivers.
Colleges in the list compiled by Compass have stipulated that students may self-report their test scores in their applications. From Compass’ page, click on the name of the college to visit the school’s website where the policy is explained. Note: only colleges that have written policies on their websites or application materials are included in their list.
Fellow IECA member Cigus Vanni is the master of lists. He created many that he shares with fellow IEC’s, and one sheds light on that almost no colleges continue to require or recommend the writing portion of the SAT or ACT. The biggest exception is the UC system, which still requires it.
Here’s his list as of 6/27:
Abilene Christian University (TX) – recommend
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (NY) – recommend
Augsburg College (MN) – recommend (note: Augsburg is a test-optional school)
Berry College (GA) – require ACT, neither require nor recommend SAT
College of Charleston (SC) – recommend
Duke University (NC) – recommend
Eastern Illinois University – recommend ACT; neither require nor recommend SAT
Manhattan College (NY) – recommend; used for placement in writing courses, not for admission to school
Martin Luther College (MN) – require ACT, neither require nor recommend SAT
Michigan State University – recommend
Montana State University – recommend; used for placement in writing courses, not for admission to school
Oregon State University – recommend SAT; neither require nor recommend ACT
Rhode Island College – require ACT, neither require nor recommend SAT
Saint Anselm College (NH) – recommend (note: Saint Anselm is a test optional school)
Saint Norbert College (WI) – recommend
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania – recommend
Soka University of America (CA) – require
State University of New York at Buffalo – recommend
Texas State University – recommend ACT
United States Military Academy (NY) – require
University of California Berkeley – require
University of California Davis – require
University of California Irvine – require
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) – require
University of California Merced – require
University of California Riverside – require
University of California San Diego – require
University of California Santa Barbara – require
University of California Santa Cruz – require
University of Evansville (IN) – require (note: Evansville is a test optional school)
University of Mary Hardin Baylor (TX) – require
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities – recommend
University of Montana – recommend
University of Montana Western – require ACT, recommend SAT
VanderCook College of Music (IL) – require
Webb Institute of Naval Architecture (NY) – recommend
NOTE: All information current with the updating of this list on June 26, 2019. Be sure to check with each college to which you apply before you register for any standardized test as requirements can change.