US colleges are bringing back standardized testing after claims that test-optional policies hurt minority students

Universities across the country have decided to reintroduce requirements for undergraduate applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores. This comes after institutions previously claimed that such tests contributed to inequality in higher education, according to Fox News Digital.

David D. Schein — a professor and associate dean at the University of St. Thomas in Houston — said that standardized testing is a way for institutions of higher learning to compare students. He went on to say that while individual grades and extracurricular activities are certainly considered in the application process, it is also important to have a way to measure a student’s success independent of geography.

Schein went on to suggest that competition among students has increased due to a downward birth curve and ever-increasing costs to get into a college or university. He speculated that dropping testing could have been viewed as a way to increase the applicant pool, per the report.

The professor also addressed the notion that some have viewed standardized testing as putting minority students at a disadvantage due to poor schooling or cultural bias on the test itself.

“Frankly, I found this narrative racist and offensive on its face,” Schein said. “That is because it could be interpreted as ‘certain minorities were too stupid to do well on these demanding standardized tests.’ I have always rejected this narrative. Further, schools should still have the data but can make decisions based on the many factors considered in admissions, not just the SAT.”

Bloomberg published a report earlier this month, suggesting that schools have reintroduced testing after the Supreme Court decided in June 2023 that institutions could not use race as a component in their admissions process.

“Admissions officers at Yale, Dartmouth and Brown cited studies showing how important standardized tests are in providing context to student performance and said that requiring testing is beneficial in recruiting diverse and low-income students,” according to the report.

However, the majority of universities across the country are not going the same route as these Ivy League institutions.

The report stated: “According to a survey of about 200 colleges taken by test-prep company Kaplan in the second half of 2023, only 1% of test-optional colleges plan to reinstate testing requirements while 14% are considering it. The other 85% plan to keep testing optional. (The University of Michigan, for its part, announced in February that it wouldn’t require testing.)”

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