“As we all work through the challenges of a global pandemic, we would do well to reassess our decision paradigms toward less reliance on tests and more emphasis on a holistic process that takes into account the student’s performance in the context of their environment.”
By Bill Conley and Bob Massa
Is standardized testing dead? Or, to paraphrase Mark Twain, are the reports “greatly exaggerated”?
In March 2020, about 1,000 of the 2,300 private nonprofit and public bachelor’s-granting colleges and universities offered students the option to apply to their institutions without submitting SAT or ACT scores, and several dozen operated as “test blind,” wherein all applicants were reviewed without testing results. According to FairTest, nearly 1,700, or two-thirds of colleges and universities, as of October 2020 are operating with some form of test-optional or test-blind policy.
Pre-pandemic, only a handful of the most selective colleges in the country were test optional. Today, the new surge includes many of the most selective colleges in the country (e.g., the Ivy League, Caltech). In addition, the University of California system (which received nearly 180,000 applications for fall 2020) announced in May 2020 that it would be test optional for the next two admission cycles, test blind for the two years following, and in 2025 it will administer its own test or eliminate testing altogether. A lower court ruling in November now requires it to be test blind immediately.
As both test agencies canceled or modified multiple testing dates over the past six months, colleges girded for the immediate impact for the class entering in fall 2021. In the aggregate, for the past four SAT test dates, 40 percent of the registrants were unable to take the test.
More students will have no testing or just a single instance to report; hence, the 60 percent increase in the number of test-optional colleges.
This entry was posted in Brain Food, BrainStorm’s resource center for parents.
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