Yale to require standardized test scores for admissions

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

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

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

Yale’s decision, which will not affect students who applied during the current admissions cycle, followed a similar decision in February by Dartmouth College. Dartmouth, in Hanover, N.H., said an analysis had found that hundreds of students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who had strong scores (in the 1,400 range on the SAT) had declined to take them, fearing they fell far short of perfect 1,600. In 2022, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced that it had refunded your testing requirement.

These institutions remain a minority. Many decided to maintain their test-optional policies as the pandemic subsided. Columbia Announced last year it is test optional, and Harvard has said it is test optional through the class that graduate in 2030.

The California university system has enacted a “blind review” policy, meaning they will not review grades even if they are submitted.

The University of Michigan, one of the most selective public universities in the country, Announced Wednesday that it was adopting a test-optional policy, which it said was a measure to “provide access to high-achieving students of all backgrounds.” Michigan had previously used a flexible testing policy.

More than 80 percent of four-year colleges (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 organization FairTest, which has fought against standardized testing. In 2022, the number of students taking the SAT dropped to 1.7 million, down from 2.2 million in 2020.

The anti-testing movement has long said that standardized tests help fuel inequality, because many students from wealthy families use tutors and coaches to improve their scores.

But recent research has questioned whether test-optional policies can actually harm the very students they were intended to help.

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

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

Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions at Yale, said in a statement that the university had determined that test scores, although imperfect, predicted 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 strongest predictor of a student’s performance in Yale courses in all models.” that we have built.”

When students do not submit test results, the admissions committee focuses on other elements of the student’s record, Mr. Quinlan said.

“For students who attend well-resourced high schools, substitutes for standardized testing are relatively easy to find: Transcripts are filled with advanced courses, teachers are accustomed to praising students’ unique contributions in the classroom, and activity lists are full of enrichment opportunities,” he said in the statement. “We found that greater emphasis on these elements has the effect of favoring the favored.”

After the Supreme Court’s decision last year banning racially motivated admissions, many experts predicted that some schools would use test-optional policies to protect themselves from future litigation. In the cases against Harvard and the University of North Carolina, standardized test scores were used to show disparate admissions treatment for some racial and ethnic groups.

In an interview, Quinlan said Yale took that into account when deciding whether to reinstate testing requirements.

“I think we’re pretty confident that we can still run a pretty thoughtful and legal admissions process with this policy,” Quinlan said. “We could not allow that legal concern, or potential litigation, to affect this important decision.”

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

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

“Quality and quantity were not increasing at the same time,” Quinlan said.

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

However, he did think the new policy could create a barrier for international students, some of whom have complained about limited access to standardized tests.

“I think it’s safe to say we’ll see some decline going forward,” Quinlan said. “We don’t want any more requests. “We want the right applications.”