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Colleges reinstate standardized testing requirement for 2024-2025 admissions

Experts claim SAT, ACT trade equality, holistic admissions for greater accuracy in application process
Colleges+reinstate+standardized+testing+requirement+for+2024-2025+admissions
Ava Lin

After four years of test-optional college admissions, SAT and ACT scores will be reinstated as a mandatory requirement for several schools beginning the 2024-25 admissions cycle with the goal of evaluating students more accurately, according to Stanford Professor of Economics Caroline Hoxby.

Hoxby said standardized tests such as the SAT allow for every student to gain admission to selective institutions, regardless of wealth and affluence.

“We expect, on a very firm evidentiary basis, that making the SAT optional will cause selective colleges to enroll fewer students from disadvantaged backgrounds,” Hoxby said.

According to a The New York Times article, after COVID-19 prevented students from taking standardized tests and raised equity concerns regarding access to standardized testing, schools opted to make sending in SAT and ACT scores optional.

Recent announcements from Ivy League schools including Yale University and Dartmouth College, indicated that they have joined other institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgetown University in requiring mandatory standardized test score submissions. Yale, however, is also allowing students to submit AP or IB scores, according to a recent admission announcement.

Sophomore Nathan Mourrain said the decisions made by these institutions have sparked controversy and discussions across the country due to their implications.

“Standardized tests are a huge topic of discussion in the academic community right now,” Mourrain said. “It definitely favors some while not favoring others, and it’s really hard to find a universal agreement.”

In response to these concerns, some schools such as those in the University of California system and Caltech University, which permanently eliminated the option to submit test scores in 2021, have advocated for alternative methods of evaluating student capability, according to a CalMatters article. This includes holistic admission processes that evaluate a broader range of factors beyond standardized test scores.

Jesse Rothstein, the Carmel P. Friesen, chair of public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in an email that standardized testing tends to reveal greater socioeconomic divides among applicants than other admissions factors.

“Racial and socioeconomic gaps on the SAT are larger than on other available admissions measures,” Rothstein said. “Most notably, high school GPA.”

Alternatively, Mourrain said this criticism is not solely applicable towards standardized tests, and that other factors also play a role in exacerbating socioeconomic disparities and college preparedness.

“There are tons of activities that disproportionately affect (the admissions process),” Mourrain said. “Maybe a school cannot afford certain sports equipment or facilities which other schools have, which influences the ability of those athletes to make it into top schools.”

As the debate over the role of standardized testing in college admissions continues, the decisions made by academic institutions like MIT will likely influence other schools, according to a Forbes article.

Mourrain said the SAT provides an objective baseline for schools to reference when considering an applicant for admission.

“Standardized testing simply gives us a way to evaluate each individual student regardless of ethnicity or economic advantage or disadvantage,” Mourrain said. “You need some basis of evaluation for certain things.”

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Meryem Orazova, Staff Writer
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