sábado, abril 13

Yale will require standardized test scores for admissions

Yale University will require standardized test scores for students applying for the entering fall 2025 class, becoming the second Ivy League university to abandon test-optional policies that had been widely adopted during the pandemic of Covid.

Yale officials said in a statement Thursday that the move to test-optional policies may have unintentionally harmed students from low-income families whose test scores could have improved their chances.

Although it will require standardized testing, Yale said its policy will be “testing flexible,” allowing students to submit Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test scores by subject instead of SAT or ACT scores.

Yale’s decision, which will not affect students who applied during the current admissions cycle, follows a similar decision made in February by Dartmouth College. Dartmouth, in Hanover, N.H., said an analysis found that hundreds of students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who had strong scores — in the 1,400 range on the SAT — refused to submit them, fearing they would fall too far below the perfect mark of 1,600. In 2022, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced it had reinstated its testing requirements.

These institutions remain in the minority. Many decided to keep their test-optional policies in place as the pandemic subsided. Columbia announced last year that the test was optional, and Harvard said it would be test-optional for the class that graduates in 2030.

The California university system has adopted a «test blind» policy, meaning they will not consider results even if they are submitted.

The University of Michigan, one of the nation’s most selective public universities, announced Wednesday that it was moving toward a test-optional policy, which it said was intended to «provide access to high-achieving students of all horizons”. Michigan had previously used a flexible testing policy.

More than 80% of four-year universities — or at least 1,825 of the nation’s bachelor’s degree-granting institutions — will not require SAT or ACT scores this fall, according to the FairTest organization, which fights against standardized testing. In 2022, the number of students taking the SAT fell to 1.7 million, down from 2.2 million in 2020.

The anti-testing movement has long argued that standardized tests help fuel inequality, as many students from wealthy families rely on tutors and coaches to improve their scores.

But recent research questions whether test-optional policies might actually harm the very students they are intended to help.

In January, Opportunity Insights, a Harvard-based group of economists, released a study that found test scores could help identify low-income students and students from underrepresented populations who could succeed in college. . High scores of less privileged students may signal high potential.

Yale, in New Haven, Connecticut, said the test scores were particularly useful in evaluating students who attend high schools with fewer academic resources or college preparatory courses.

Jeremiah Quinlan, the dean of undergraduate admissions at Yale, said in a statement that the university had determined that test scores, while imperfect, were predictive of academic success in college.

“Simply put,” he said, “students with higher scores are more likely to have higher Yale GPAs, and test scores are the greatest predictor of a student’s performance. student in Yale classes in every model we have built.»

When students don’t submit test scores, the admissions committee focuses on other elements of the student’s file, Quinlan said.

“For students who attend well-resourced high schools, substitutes for standardized tests are relatively easy to find: transcripts are full of advanced courses, teachers are accustomed to praising students’ unique contributions in class, and lists activities are full of enrichment opportunities,” he said in the statement. “We have found that the increased emphasis on these elements has the effect of favoring the most advantaged. »

After the Supreme Court’s ruling last year barring admissions on racial grounds, many experts predicted that some schools would use test-optional policies to protect against future litigation. In the cases against Harvard and the University of North Carolina, standardized test scores were used to show disparate admissions treatments for certain ethnic and racial groups.

In an interview, Mr. Quinlan said Yale took that into account in its decision whether to reinstate testing requirements.

“I think we are confident that we can still conduct a fairly thoughtful and legal admissions process with this policy,” Mr. Quinlan said. “We could not let this legal concern, nor allow potential litigation, impact this important decision. »

In making its announcement, Yale released the average range of SAT and ACT scores for its 2020 freshman class. Since Yale instituted a test-optional policy, the university said that about half of its applicants do not had not submitted scores on the SAT or ACT.

Applications to Yale and other highly selective schools have increased due to test-optional policies. Yale, which has an acceptance rate of about 4%, said recently that it had received more than 57,000 admissions applications for this fall, a record number and an increase of about 20,000 since 2019, before the pandemic. The increase affects a large number of international students, Quinlan said.

“Quality and quantity have not increased at the same rate,” Mr Quinlan said.

Bob Schaeffer, FairTest’s director of public education, downplayed the potential impact of Yale’s decision. “Given that an overwhelming percentage of future applicants to Yale will have taken the Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams, which have long been a factor in admission to ultra-selective institutions, the impact will not be very significant,” he said. -he declares.

He believes, however, that the new policy could create a barrier for international students, some of whom complain about limited access to standardized tests.

“I think it’s reasonable to say we will see some reduction in the future,” Mr Quinlan said. “We don’t want more applications. We want the right apps.