More Schools Drop SAT/ACT Essay Requirement For Admissions

Yale University in New Haven, CT.
Photo Credit: Adam Jones (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Some big news for high school seniors who plan on attending certain Ivy League schools, Yale University just announced they will no longer require students to take the SAT or ACT essay assessment as an admission requirement. They join Harvard University and Dartmouth College.

The Washington Post reports:

On Friday, Yale University said applicants will no longer be required to submit an essay score from the SAT or the ACT. The policy will take effect for rising high school seniors who seek to enter the university’s Class of 2023. Yale’s action comes weeks after Harvard University and Dartmouth College dropped the requirement.

In recent years many states, counties and cities have funded SAT and ACT testing during the school day in public schools, making the exams free for students. Sometimes, those testing programs include the optional essay sections, but sometimes they don’t. That produces a quandary for students who might be thinking about whether to apply to colleges that require the essay: Should they have to take the test all over again just to get an essay score?

Very few schools actually require this anyway, and the Washington Post noted that selective colleges require an essay within their admissions process.

A representative from Stanford University, which still requires the essay, noted the importance of writing.

Stanford’s dean of admission and financial aid, Richard Shaw, said he is reviewing the issue. “However, we should treasure writing as an important skill in life and it should be a major focus [of] K-12,” Shaw wrote in an email. “So the question becomes what is the alternative to assessing writing competency in the admissions process.”

Writing is a vital skill and writing instruction, which was weak before, has taken a hit during the Common Core era. Sandra Stotsky, who served on the Common Core validation committee and was the author of Massachusetts’ top-notch ELA standards that helped that state lead in K-12 education prior to Common Core, noted that the writing standards were not linked to appropriate reading standards.

Schools like Yale will have to deal with students educated under this system.

Read the rest of WaPo article.

2 thoughts on “More Schools Drop SAT/ACT Essay Requirement For Admissions

  1. I feel two ways about this. For one, I think the written portion of standardized tests can be a better indicator of a student’s ability to communicate and think critically than multiple-choice questions. But I also think it’s even less accurate at defining a student’s ability than the test questions.

  2. Darn it. I was hoping that this was saying that colleges were developing their own tests or contracting with private testing companies they trust more in place of the SAT/ACT. Guess I didn’t read the headline very well.

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