Test-Optional Admissions List Tops 815

University Testing

FairTest Examiner, March 2009

A new FairTest survey has found that more than 815 accredited, bachelor-degree granting colleges and universities do not require all or most applicants to submit scores from either test before admissions decisions are made.

The number of such schools has soared since revised versions of the SAT and ACT were introduced in March 2005. Last fall a blue-ribbon commission sponsored by the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) issued a report encouraging more institutions to consider ending admissions exam mandates (see Examiner, December 2008).

Nearly four-dozen colleges and universities have adopted test-optional policies for all or most applicants in the past several years. Increasingly, admissions officials recognize that neither the SAT nor ACT measures what students most need to succeed in higher education. Even the sponsors of the tests admit that an applicant’s high school record remains a better predictor of college performance than their exams (see Examiner, July 2008). 

In the wake of the NACAC Commission on the Use of Standardized Tests in Undergraduate Admission report, many more schools are re-examining their standardized exam requirements. The ACT/SAT optional list is likely to continue growing as more institutions recognize that the tests remain biased, coachable, educationally damaging and irrelevant to sound admissions practices. 

- The regularly updated FairTest directory of test-optional schools is available free online in alphabetical, state-by-state, and PDF formats http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional. Nearly 200,000 students, parents, and guidance counselors access these lists each year.

- Facts sheets on SAT and ACT are at http://www.fairtest.org/univ/newsatfact.htm and http://www.fairtest.org/act-biased-inaccurate-and-misused).