Some Long Island higher education institutions are not requiring standardized SAT or ACT test scores for fall 2023 admissions, a policy first adopted by schools when the COVID pandemic made group testing unsafe — and most say it met the requirement of the Results could give up permanently.
The New York Institute of Technology has decided to make the temporary suspension of mandatory testing permanent for most of its undergraduate programs. Molloy and Adelphi Universities and the SUNY system are also considering this.
Some island schools have found reasons to believe that mandatory testing is not required. There are other indicators of future academic success, they said, such as high school grade point average and curriculum strength.
“High school GPA is the leading predictor of college success. This measure was stronger than test scores in predicting the likelihood of success,” said Kristen Capezza, vice president of enrollment management at Adelphi.
WHAT TO KNOW
- When the COVID pandemic started In spring 2020, the majority of US colleges and universities suspended the requirement for applicants to submit standardized test scores because convening for the test was considered unsafe.
- A majority of institutions have maintained the suspension through the 2023-24 academic year.
- Some schools have made their choice Making testing permanently optional, and others are evaluating the policy to see if high school grades and other factors predict future college success as well as standardized test scores.
Some believe that requiring test scores discriminates against disadvantaged students whose schools may not offer advanced courses. Private exam prep classes can cost hundreds of dollars per hour, while commercial exam prep classes can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Khan Academy offers a free online test practice program.
Hofstra University eliminated mandatory test scores years before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hofstra official Jessica Eads said the “belief that the SAT is biased towards disadvantaged groups and is really underpredictive of academic success at the college level” prompted the school to make tests optional in 2015.
The school made it official when a review of its own data found that the students’ high school GPA and the rigor of the high school curriculum predicted their future Hofstra GPA better than their test scores.
“It was an obvious choice for us,” said Eads, vice president of student enrollment, engagement and success, adding that the university has worked hard to reduce student anxiety in the college application process.
“You’re more than a number,” she said.
The standardized test, which has been an integral part of the university admissions process since 1948 – and formerly for scholarship applicants – is increasingly on shaky ground.
According to FairTest, a group that opposes testing, about 80% of the country’s higher education institutions have suspended them by 2023, with two-thirds committing to suspensions until at least 2024.
A growing number of institutions have already made testing optional – a few decades ago. They range from large public institutions like the University of California to small, selective liberal arts colleges like Bates College in Maine.
Bates College, in a 2004 report, presented data based on its own experience since 1984 that showed little difference in college pass rates between those admitted with and without test scores.
Open the door to others
At NYIT, all undergraduate programs, with the exception of nursing and other health professional programs, no longer require SAT or ACT tests in their admissions process. And that, the university believes, has led to more applications from students of color, students who are the first in their families to go to college, and those with financial needs.
Karen Vahey, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, said that students of color have represented “a larger portion of the applicant and admissions pool since the move to optional testing” in fall 2021, including “an up to 8% increase in color student applications.” compared to previous years” and an increase of up to 13% in admitted students.
Additionally, first-generation applicants increased 12% “year over year,” and in the fall of 2021, NYIT enrolled in its largest freshman class in 12 years, with a 10% increase in applicants the following year, Vahey said.
“We believe our optional testing policy contributed to these increases,” she said.
Adelphi officials said they’ve also seen such an increase in diversity. From fall 2019 to fall 2022, the number of enrolling freshmen “identifying as non-white increased from 47 percent to 51 percent of the entering class,” Capezza said. “In particular, different applicants grew by 25.5 percent and the number of admission offers by 25.6 percent in the same period.”
Hofstra also saw gains, Eads said, but attributes these to recruitment efforts and a more diverse demographic in the high school-age population.
However, not all institutions believe that SAT or ACT are unfair. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the top universities in the country, reintroduced mandatory testing last March and found that the results, particularly in math, prepared applicants for the math-heavy curriculum and actually gave underprivileged students a better chance at it gave admission.
MIT argued that tests could identify well-prepared students who would not have opportunities for advanced coursework or application-enhancing activities, Stuart Schmill, dean of admissions and student finance services, said in a March interview with MIT News, a university publication.
Students could study online for the SAT or ACT for free, despite shortcomings in what their high schools offer, he said.
However, Eads said: “Certainly some schools are campaigning for this, but not in our peer group or locally from what I’ve heard.”
“One Piece of the Puzzle”
Marguerite Lane, associate vice president of enrollment management at Molloy, said the optional testing policy went into effect in the fall of 2020, after the bulk of the incoming class had already been accepted based on applications with the required test scores.
“When we made the test optional, we continued to rely on the other key indicators that we’ve always used to predict student success,” she said, including the academic high school average; the rigor of their high school curriculum; Regents classes when available; Participated in student leadership and community service during high school.
“The test results were one piece of the puzzle — in the absence of those test results, we use those other pieces of the puzzle,” Lane said. “I will tell you that the test is optional, we are very satisfied with the academic quality of our incoming freshmen has remained strong.”
She said the university hopes to make a decision on mandatory testing before fall 2024 and will continue to evaluate data on student performance.
“I looked at the test scores for the students who were admitted and received academic scholarships based on high school GPAs without submitting test scores, and it correlates closely with what they would have received if they had submitted test scores “, she said. Note that some students were accepted based on high school grades before their test scores were received.
“Your test result corresponds well to what would have been expected and required when test results were mandatory.”
Mandatory tests have also been suspended at St Joseph’s University in Patchogue and the LIU Post, where high scores, if submitted, could increase scholarship awards, the admissions office said.
SUNY schools, including Stony Brook University, SUNY Old Westbury and Farmingdale State College, are awaiting a decision from the central administration of the SUNY system on whether to extend optional testing beyond 2023-24.
Interim Chancellor Deborah Stanley said in a January memo that further action “will be informed through research by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, a nonpartisan public policy think tank.”
A full assessment of the impact of optional tests on student success would require several years of data, said Laura Schultz, the Rockefeller Institute’s executive director of research.
“Anytime you look at testing data from the COVID-related population, you need to determine whether that impact is due to the COVID pandemic itself or the testing policy,” she said.
Farmingdale, spokesman Matthew Colson said, “encourages juniors to take the exams if possible, just to be prepared and give themselves a chance to submit their score if it’s not necessary and if they feel it should.” it is a real and accurate demonstration of their academic ability, which could benefit their admissions consideration.”