Test Optional? Coronavirus Pushes More Colleges to Drop SAT, ACT

SAT exam

High school juniors are trying to figure out what to do with recently cancelled SAT and ACT dates. due to coronavirus. As of this writing, the June 6 SAT test date is still going forward, but many think it will be canceled. So when will students get to take their standardized tests? They may not need to be as worried as time goes on. Colleges seem to be taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to pull the trigger on becoming test optional.

According to a recent article in Inside Higher Ed, “at least 17 colleges have dropped the SAT or ACT in recent weeks for one or two admissions cycles, specifically citing the impact of COVID-19.”

Taking Advantage of the Situation

And these colleges and universities are big names too. Boston University has announced a test optional “trial” for two admissions cycles. Students applying in the fall of 2021 or spring 2022 will not need to submit test scores.

Tufts University announced a three-year test optional trial period, starting with fall 2021 applicants. JT Duck, dean of admissions at Tufts, posted on the Tufts Admissions blog that the decision was due to “extraordinary circumstances” brought on by the pandemic. However, he also noted the decision “aligns with our ongoing efforts to critically examine our policies.” That statement seems to infer Tufts was thinking about going test optional anyway.

They may follow Oregon schools. Both the University of Oregon and Oregon State University announced they are permanently test optional universities.

Larry L. Cockrum, president of University of the Cumberlands, released a statement saying the school had already been considering the policy change. They decided to change now due to the coronavirus. He supported the decision by stating “there is a growing body of evidence that standardized tests… do not fully reflect the academic talents of every student.”

Hastening the End of Standardized Testing?

Not requiring standardized test scores is not a new thing. Over 1,000 universities in the U.S. were test optional before the pandemic. However, the perfect storm of test cancellations combined with changing admissions attitudes seems to point to more schools becoming more flexible in coming months.

Chris Falcinelli, founder of Focus Educational Services, told Bloomberg that “this could be the death knell of admissions testing.”

RELATED: Touring Colleges ‘Virtually’ When Campuses Are Closed

Many also cite reducing student stress as another positive outcome of becoming test optional right now. “Taking a standardized test for college admissions should not be at the forefront of their thinking,” Duck said.

FairTest has been working for 30 years to make college admissions test optional. You can search their database for test optional colleges and universities.

Visit our special coronavirus article page.

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