More Colleges Drop ACT Requirement as Taxpayer Subsidized Test Volume Grows

for further information:                                                                 

                                                                                                            Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773                                                                                                                             cell  (239) 699-0468

Embargoed until 3:00am EDT, Wed., Aug. 24, 2016 -- for use with annual ACT scores

AS STATE-MANDATED ACT TEST VOLUME GROWS,
MANY MORE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES DROP ADMISSIONS EXAMS;
870 SCHOOLS ARE NOW TEST-OPTIONAL OR TEST-FLEXIBLE

    The rising volume of high school students taking the ACT standardized exam reflects an increase in states administering the test as part of their assessment systems, not requirements for higher education admissions. In fact, a sharply growing number of colleges and universities have adopted policies to waive consideration of scores for the ACT and rival SAT for all or many applicants.   

    A new National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) tally shows that 870 bachelor-degree institutions are test-optional or test-flexible (http://fairtest.org/university/optional). In the past three years, more than 75 schools eliminated or reduced ACT and SAT requirements (http://www.fairtest.org/sites/default/files/Optional-Growth-Chronology.pdf). The list now includes more than 220 top-tier colleges and universities (http://www.fairtest.org/sites/default/files/Optional-Schools-in-U.S.News-Top-Tiers.pdf).

    FairTest Public Education Director Bob Schaeffer explained the trends: “The ACT convinced 20 states to use taxpayer funds to administer its test to all students as part of federally mandated assessment programs. However, colleges and universities increasingly recognize that ACT scores are neither accurate nor fair measures of higher education readiness. That’s why so many admissions offices recently dropped testing requirements. The result is that thousands of teenagers are forced to sit for exams that have no real educational purpose.”

 

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2016 COLLEGE-BOUND SENIORS AVERAGE ACT SCORES

2,090,342 test takers

    COMPOSITE SCORE   FIVE-YEAR SCORE TREND    
        (2012 – 2016)  
           
ALL TEST-TAKERS  
20.8 
  - 0.3  
           
African-American   17.0     0.0  
American Indian   17.7   - 0.7  
Asian   24.0   +0.4  
Hispanic/Latino   18.7   - 0.2  
White    22.2   - 0.2  
           
Female    20.9   ACT scores by gender  
Male   20.9   not reported in 2012  
           
Source:  ACT, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2016 and The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2012