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At the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, hundreds of colleges and universities will drop the testing requirement for the ACT and SAT. More than 75% of all colleges and universities in the United States of America are dropping the ACT and SAT requirements. Of these schools, more than half plan on committing to the test-optional program past the 2022-23 school year.
Although the pandemic stopped many students from taking the ACT and SAT, the reason behind dropping the test requirement has partially to do with giving schools more diversity. Dropping the ACT and SAT requirements can allow more students to apply to colleges and universities.
FairTest Executive Director Bob Schaeffer says, “The record number of admissions offices waiving testing mandates reflects widespread satisfaction with those policies. Schools that did not mandate ACT/SAT submission last year generally received more applicants, better academically qualified applicants, and a more diverse pool of applicants.”
The other reason that schools are dropping the requirement is that it is widely believed that the ACT and SAT are discriminatory and biased. The argument is that students in a lower income bracket don’t have the time or money to pay for a tutor that will get them higher scores. Collegeboard and ACT Inc. deny said claims.
The last argument is that the ACT and SAT do not accurately represent student success.
Professor David Kirp states, “Researchers at UC’s Riverside campus — where nearly half the students are underrepresented minorities and 60 percent receive Pell grants — found that students with average SAT scores and top high school grades were almost as likely to graduate as their classmates with similar high school grades who had aced the test.”
The dropping of the testing requirement has led to debate. Critics of the policy believe that the removal of the testing requirement will hinder student readiness.
Professor Larry Su says that dropping the requirement will, “leave American students unprepared for college, hinder minority students’ finishing of education, send a wrong message about what American institutions of learning value, destroy America’s fundamental beliefs in hard work and personal accountability, and further put America’s national and international interest at risk.”
Despite the debate, it is likely that policy will extend well beyond the 2022-23 school year. Of the schools going test-optional, more than half plan on committing to the test-optional program past the 2022-23 school year. Colleges and universities will now review an applicant’s grades to determine admittance.