University of Chicago Joins Growing List of Colleges Not Requiring ACT or SAT

University of Chicago Main Quad
Photo Credit: Ndshankar via Wikimedia Commons (CC-By-SA 4.0)

The University of Chicago joins a growing list of colleges that will no longer require students to submit ACT or SAT scores as an admission requirement.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

A growing number, including DePaul University, have opted to stop requiring the SAT and ACT in their admissions process, saying the tests place an unfair cost and burden on low-income and minority students, and ultimately hinder efforts to broaden diversity on campus. But the trend has escaped the nation’s most selective universities.

Until now. The University of Chicago announced Thursday that it would no longer require applicants for the undergraduate college to submit standardized test scores.

While it will still allow applicants to submit their SAT or ACT scores, university officials said they would let prospective undergraduates send transcripts on their own and submit video introductions and nontraditional materials to supplement their applications.

“We were sending a message to students, with our own requirements, that one test basically identifies you,” said Jim Nondorf, vice president and dean of admissions at U. of C. “Despite the fact that we would say testing is only one piece of the application, that’s the first thing a college asks you. We wanted to really take a look at all our requirements and make sure they were fair to every group, that everybody, anybody could aspire to a place like UChicago.”

Read the rest.

The National Center for Fair and Open Testing states that there are over 1000 schools across the nation that do not require ACT or SAT for admissions. They report that half of the U.S. News “Top 100” liberal arts colleges are on their list of test-optional schools. So are a majority of all colleges and universities in New England and more than 50 percent in such states as Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

“Studies show that an applicant’s high school record – grades plus course rigor – predicts undergraduate success better than any standardized exam. By going test-optional, colleges increase diversity without any loss in academic quality. Eliminating testing requirements is a ‘win-win’ for both students and schools,” Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director with the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, stated back in January when their list first topped 1000 schools.

“College and university leaders are sending a clear message,” Schaeffer added. “Test scores are not needed to make sound educational decisions. It’s time for K-12 policy makers to pay attention and back off their testing obsession for public schools.”

8 thoughts on “University of Chicago Joins Growing List of Colleges Not Requiring ACT or SAT

    1. First off, they still have admissions standards. Secondly, some kids do not do well on standardized tests for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with their intelligence. I have two kids that are dyslexic for example.

    2. You can’t have it both ways. You are always complaining about the tests, CC, the data collection and yet when a college decides to do what is right and not by rating kids by useless test scores, you complain about that, too? If you ever read about the history of the “standardized tests” you would know that they were developed to “prove” certain races were not as smart as the lily, white folks. The tests are racist and they were developed by racists….it was/is called Eugenics…..but I think you already know that. I am happy that the testing industry is being exposed as the fraud that it is.

  1. If I were black I would be insulted by this because it is basically saying minorities are too stupid to pass a test. The majority of schools pay for these tests so cost is no excuse. This is an flat out insult to minorities.

    1. I agree that they shouldn’t bring race into this. There are all sorts of different kids who struggle with standardized assessments.

      Also, considering the fact SAT is aligned with Common Core, and ACT is quasi-aligned (how much they are aligned is debatable), this is a good development.

  2. Dyslexic children may have trouble with regular school work, too. So, should we cancel school? No, Shane, getting rid of standardized tests is not a good development. They remain one of the few measures, when externally administered, not under the control of educrats. Without them, we are totally beholden to insiders to evaluate school performance and, big surprise, they seem to always rate themselves well. As for college admission tests, they provide information about the abilities of students that no other measure provides (i.e., 6-8 percent of “incremental” predictive validity) and this mainly benefits highly capable students who through no fault of their own have been stuck in poor quality K-12 schools. Admission test scores are not perfect, but neither are any of the other dozen or so measures used to choose students. Test scores are, however, one of the strongest predictors of college performance–about equal with high school GPA. The FairTest stats include mainly non-academic postsecondary institutions, such as bible colleges and narrowly-focused vocational schools. More academic schools included may grant exemptions only under special circumstances, and not for all applicants. Finally, the chief motivation for 4-year colleges in dropping an admission test score requirement may be to increase ethnic diversity. One may see that as a good thing; one may also see that as giving up on the goal of providing all ethnic groups a quality K-12 education, or lowering college standards to meet our lowered K-12 standards.

    1. Of course we shouldn’t cancel school (I homeschooled so perhaps I did). I see your point, but I don’t think the sky is going to fall if college entrance exams are not used.

  3. I think it would be wise for colleges to come up with their own exams, especially since the two are now common core-oriented and may not reveal the best and brightest students anymore. A university I was never interested in attending informed me of a data breach because these tests sold information to them about me. I’m okay with some schools boycotting them unless they get their act together. I don’t think their reasoning is terrible, some never-attended college families really believe if it’s not free it’s not worth it–hindering their child’s potential (how many of us know a private elementary/secondary education and small class sizes would make a world of a difference for our children but don’t want to pay for it and so settle for less? I know it sounds crazy but some minorities do that at the college level).

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