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Many students may have hoped that testing to be able to apply for college would remain unavoidable. But a few highly selective colleges have recently reinstated their requirements, and a look at the announcements of these schools shows that their motives are quite similar.

HTML0. The University of Texas at Austin joined MIT, Dartmouth, Yale and Brown in the requirement of standardized tests as part of the first-year application process. The reasoning behind UT’s decision and the data it provides echo the reasoning among the four Ivy League+ colleges.

Two motives for the change are mentioned often in colleges’ public announcements. SAT score predicts first-year grades and aid admissions officers in evaluating students in the context of.

It is recommended that students check the specifics of the current requirements for each school on their website. This article explains that the phrase SAT can be used to denote an standardized test that may differ from school to school.

Test-optional rules were linked to the outbreak, these schools claimed in announcing the return of the requirement of standardized test scores. In March 2022 MIT published: “The Institute suspended its longstanding requirement in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic that prevented most high schoolers from safely taking the exams.”

In the words of president of Dartmouth Sian Leah Beilock wrote in a letter addressed to members of the Dartmouth residents in the month of February, 2024 “The testing requirement was paused at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when many students were not able to take SATs and ACTs.” This links the policy on testing to an historical event that has which is now generally completed.

SAT Scores Can Predict College Grades

The main reason for the change in standardized testing policies concerns the ability of students to perform the needed academic tasks. Each college referenced research that showed the close connection of SAT scores and grades for the first year at their schools.

Beilock clarified this: “First, standardized test scores are an important predictor of a student’s success in Dartmouth’s curriculum, and this is true regardless of a student’s background or family income.”

The Brown University president agreed. The president of the university, Christine Paxson wrote in her march 2024 “Letter to the Brown Community” that announced that the school will be returning to the SAT the president Christine Paxson wrote: “The committee’s findings on standardized testing closely follow the data and the reasoning put forth last week by Yale; namely that test scores give the admissions committee a data point that can be significant in demonstrating that a student can do the academic work.” (The writer for this piece is an Brown student and received the note via email.)

Citing the report from¬†the Brown’s Ad Hoc Committee on Admissions Policies, Paxson wrote, “‘An applicant’s test scores are a strong predictor of a student’s performance once enrolled,’ the report states, ‘and of their capacity to succeed in a rigorous academic environment.'”

UT Austin shared data for its most recent class which was admitted under the prior policy of testing optional. The school analyzed the scores that these students achieved and divided the students into groups who were required to provide SAT scores as well as those who chose not to submit. The first-year class of UT is bigger than the other colleges that were considered in this piece. This means that the data could be more significant. “Of 9,217 first-year students enrolled in 2023,” UT reported, “those who opted in had an estimated average GPA of 0.86 grade points higher during their first fall semester, controlling for a wide range of factors, including high school class rank and GPA.”

SAT Scores Can Help Differentiate Applicants

Graduation rates are rising, and the possibility that students applying to colleges with high-stakes requirements have high performance, which means there’s a lot of competition on the highest scale. Admissions officers require a method to go beyond grades in order to evaluate a student’s potential academic performance.

According to what UT stated in its announcement “Also, with an abundance of high school GPAs surrounding 4.0, especially among our auto-admits, an SAT or ACT score is a proven differentiator that is in each student’s and the University’s best interest.”

Each of these schools states that SAT scores can aid in separating students, but not just on the upper end of the spectrum. “In particular, SAT/ACTs can be especially helpful in identifying students from less-resourced backgrounds who would succeed at Dartmouth but might otherwise be missed in a test-optional environment,” Beilock stated in her.

It could be so where a student who comes from the poorer background scores an outstanding score. An alternative scenario would be one whose score in absolute terms is not as high, but is notable in comparison to the usual SAT scores of similar students at the same school. This is crucial in understanding the reason why these colleges have ruled that it should not be left to the individual student to decide if or not to submit an SAT score.

According to what Beilock stated, “in a test-optional system there are many applicants who don’t provide scores from tests. This is a disadvantage for applicants from low-resource families as Dartmouth admissions examines the applicants’ scores relative to the local standards of their high school (so that, for instance a 1400 SAT score for an applicant who’s high school is a SAT average of 1000 provides us valuable data about the candidate’s capacity to be successful in their surroundings and at Dartmouth in addition to other schools). With a test-optional process, Dartmouth admissions often misses the opportunity to evaluate this data.”

Yale, too, emphasized the importance of context in its announcement: “Tests can highlight an applicant’s areas of academic strength, reinforce high school grades, fill in gaps in a transcript stemming from extenuating circumstances and–most importantly–identify students whose performance stands out in their high school context.”

Additionally, as the first school with a highly selective admissions process that reinstated a standard tests requirements, MIT was exceptionally clear about the importance of a score on tests over other components that make up an application. In the words of Dean Schmill wrote, “And unlike some other inequalities — like access to fancy internships or expensive extracurriculars — our empirical research shows the SAT/ACT actually do help us figure out if someone will do well at MIT.”

Plan Now For Fall 2024 Applications

Each school will require some kind of standardized testing starting this year’s fall. Students should visit the respective websites for up-to date information regarding the standardized tests.

With the time limit being so short students are advised to book seats as soon as possible to the dates they are scheduled to be taking any of the required tests.

The pandemic-era response to the disruptions in college admissions is about to come to an end in some of the most selective universities within the United States. Testing for standardization was made largely optional for admissions for students entering the first year in the fall of 2021. This is still the case for the vast majority of colleges offering four-year degree programs. In the last month Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, became the first to bring back a requirement for testing. It’s coming to an end, and it’ll no longer be an option for universities like Yale, Dartmouth, Georgetown as well as at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Some say it’s a hint of the future.

In february, Yale University announced that admissions will begin in fall 2025, all students must submit a kind of test that is standardized. Students can select from the traditional SAT and ACT scores as well as subject-based scores that are derived from Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests. The school says that this decision was taken after a few years of testing-optional admissions which were found to be detrimental to students of low income who had to withhold the scores of their tests.

In January, Dartmouth College announced a return to admissions tests that are standardized following the school’s President Sian Beilock commissioned an internal investigation. Dartmouth found that it was unable to accept students with low incomes who did not submit SAT scores, yet were able to score in the 1400s otherwise have been accepted. It would’ve been possible to take the scores into account if students reported them.

Q What is the reason Yale for instance changed its mind about testing?

Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions at Yale claims that reviewers and researchers had put more weight on the other aspects of the application, particularly for those who did not submit test scores. However, the reviewers noted that this was against certain applicants.

“We found that applicants without scores from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were less likely to be admitted than others, because they were less likely to have that evidence in other parts of their applications,” claims Ms. Quinlan via email.

Yale stated that it’s admittance to more than 1,000 students who didn’t submit test scores, and that these students did fairly good in their classes. The only area where it observed a difference was in grades-point averages students who provided scores on tests scoring higher than those who did not.

Q: What was the outcome when schools made test-optional?

Schools that were highly selective were once the subject of controversy for having standardized test scores, because critics pointed out that these tests favoured wealthy students with the ability to afford test preparation courses and tutors to enhance their scores. There were also complaints regarding the fact that tests are discriminatory towards students of color as well as those who did not speak English as their first language. In the year 2020, Cornell became the first school in the Ivy League to go test-optional. The same year, in the epidemic, around 700 schools across America were also able to do the same.

study conducted in 2021 on 99 colleges which went test-free between the academic year 2005-2006 between the years 2015-2016 was an increase of 3% to 4% growth in the low-income Pell Grant recipients as well as an increase of 10% to 12 percentage increase for Black, Latino, and Native American students. However, the study’s author stated that there were only a only a few students at campuses that the actual change in campus composition was more of a one percentage gain for Pell Grant recipients as well as an increase of 1% for Black, Latino, and Indigenous students.

Schools, like that of the University of Chicago – which changed its test requirements in 2018 reported gains across the board. The school saw a rise of 20% in students from low-income and first-generation families in the course of the year following its removal of the test requirement and admissions for rural students increased by 56 percent. The university also had record enrollments for Black as well as Latino students. However, the decision to drop the test requirement was accompanied by a series of policies aimed at diversifying enrollment. The university claimed that the increase cannot be attributed exclusively to the removal of SAT or ACT.

In an announcement that was released by it was stated that the College Board, which administers the SAT school, stated that schools that require the test have taken it because research has shown it is more reliable. SAT scores can be more reliable of success in college than the grades of high school alone. “A growing body of research confirms that the SAT is a valuable, objective measure useful not just in admissions but in creating data-driven programs to ensure admitted students get the supports they need to graduate,” the college board said in its statement.

If no tests are available What then?

Erik Loomis is an associate professor of history and director of the graduate program at the University of Rhode Island, and has written on why the standardized test should be reinstated as a measure of admissions. He believes that universities should reintroduce tests that are standardized for equity purposes.

“It’s an awful situation because everyone who believes that standardized tests show racial disparities I believe that they are right. The issue is that anything that replaces it is more discriminatory,” Dr. Loomis states.

The most significant cause of college essays, says the professor. As well as families with a good financial situation have advantages in SAT or ACT preparation, individuals are also able to pay for other people to instruct students on how to create a compelling essay. People who are less sceptical may employ people for college essay writing or they can compose them for their kids.

“And the people who are just trying to tell their stories, but maybe are coming from a situation in which they are totally brilliant, but they live in Central Falls, Rhode Island, which is an incredibly poor, mostly Colombian and African American town – maybe the grammar is not as good, it’s not as sharp and polished, but that person might be incredibly brilliant,” Dr. Loomis writes.

Dr. Loomis claims that colleges’ admissions committees are aware that there is a lot of gamification in the system, and that a return to testing may be more secure. He also believes that schools with high standards are trying to avoid possible lawsuits by students who aren’t getting into the school, whereas others have test-optional policies.

Q: What are public universities?

Some schools with high-stakes requirements have brought back testing requirements however, they are not the only ones. University of Michigan, a top public institution has announced in February it was moving towards an all-time test-optional policy until 2025. The move came following the fact that Michigan changed its test flexibility in the year 2020, and began accepting SAT, ACT, PSAT, IB, or AP scores. At present, the only SAT or ACT scores are accepted if students decide to submit the scores. Michigan claims it is doing this to give access to students who have achieved high grades from all backgrounds. Other schools that are highly selective like Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Chicago also remain testing-free.

It is the University of California, including its prestigious Berkeley as well as Los Angeles campuses, also offers admission without a test.

In this way, Brown, Dartmouth, and Yale seem like an outlier. “It’s definitely not a harbinger,” says Bob Schaeffer, director of public education at the National Center for Fair & Open Testing. “There are nearly 2,300 four-year colleges in the U.S., and the fact that a handful have reverted to requiring testing when more than 1,700 are permanently test-optional or test-blind is a minor development.”

He says that while some schools have decided that test scores may have some relevance in admissions decisions but the evidence will be in the numbers. He’ll be monitoring for signs of a decline in diversity or if academic performance improves according to him. Studies dating back to 1969 the year that Bowdoin College in Maine became the first institution to go test-optional, has shown greater applications and more qualified applicants in terms of grades-point averages and academic rigor the Mr. Schaeffer says.

“You get more diversity of all sorts – race, family income, first-generation, immigrants, etc.”