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The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

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Several schools reinstate the SAT/ACT requirement

This February, Dartmouth announced it would begin requiring SAT or ACT scores for the school year (SY) 24-25 admissions cycle. Dartmouth was the first of several colleges to announce that they would reinstate the test requirement. 

In a press release, Dartmouth cited an internal study that argued the test-optional policy disadvantaged applicants from lower income backgrounds. According to the press release, requiring test scores will benefit “high-performing students who may attend a high school for which Dartmouth has less information to (fully) judge the transcript.” The press release pointed out that “a score that falls below our class mean but several hundred points above the mean at the student’s school is high.” While a score may look bad to the student as it is not in Dartmouth’s range, it is a great score for admissions officers because it is “​assessed through that local framing.”

Following Dartmouth’s decision, Brown, Yale, Purdue, Georgetown, and UT Austin all announced that they too would require the SAT/ACT, joining schools like MIT. Whether or not other colleges would follow suit became “the question everyone is asking,” said College and Career Center Coordinator Elizabeth Levenson, but few have. Columbia has announced that they will not be reinstating a standardized test requirement, and the majority of schools are waiting to decide, remaining test-optional for now. 

Most recently, Harvard announced in April that they would be going test-required SY 25-26, despite a previous commitment to being test-optional for that cycle. Following Harvard’s announcement, CalTech announced the same decision. The Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard said, “more information, especially such strongly predictive information, is valuable for identifying talent from across the socioeconomic range.”

On one hand, those in favor of test-optional policies say they are a poor indicator of college success, and they widen inequality gaps as wealthier students can hire tutors and take the test several times. A 2015 college board study showed that students from families earning less than $20,000 a year scored the lowest, and those earning more than $200,000 scored the highest. 

 

On the other hand, proponents of the tests argue that they provide a standardized way of evaluating students nationwide with the same test. As the number of applications skyrockets, schools “want another piece of data to help them with their decisions,” said Levenson.

Levenson pointed out that “the fact that the school does offer the in-school SAT is helpful” as it helps break down the barrier of students having to schedule and pay for their test. However, many current juniors still feel the stress of the uncertainty. Junior Safya Biswal added that “there’s so much confusion and switching with the policies,” Junior Lucy Edwards agreed saying “Junior year already has so much pressure, and the complications of the SAT going digital and whether it’s required have just made it worse.”

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Clara Doyle, Web Technical Editor
  • Junior Editor - 2023-2024
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