For decades, colleges and universities in the United States have used standardized tests like the SAT and ACT as key factors in their admissions decisions. However, as the world changes, so do the methods of evaluating students for admission to higher education institutions. Only 4% of colleges and universities in the U.S. require test scores for applications!
Here are three statistical reasons why the SAT or ACT scores are no longer necessary in today's college admission process:
#1: They are not the best predictors of college success.
Standardized tests like the SAT and ACT are often seen as a measure of academic ability, but studies have shown that they are not always the best predictors of college success. According to a report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), high school grades are a better predictor of college success than standardized test scores. In fact, a study by the University of California found that high school grades were the strongest predictor of college performance across all ethnic and income groups.
#2: They disadvantage low-income, minority, and students requiring accommodations.
Standardized tests like the SAT and ACT are often criticized for cultural and socioeconomic biases. According to a study by the College Board, students from low-income families are less likely to take the SAT and score lower on the exam than students from higher-income families. Additionally, minority students, especially African American and Latino students, tend to score lower on the SAT and ACT than white and Asian students. Lastly, since 1976, the population of students designated as having a “specific learning disability” has grown 300 percent; learning-disabled students now compose 50 percent of the special-education population. In turn, since 1987, the number of students taking the SAT with accommodations has grown by more than 300 percent. The only accommodation most often given by the SAT is extended time, AND College Board "flags" the score to indicate the student is "disabled"(Freedman)!
This disparity has made many colleges and universities question the fairness of using these tests in admissions.
#3: There are alternative measures of academic achievement.
Colleges and universities can use many alternative measures of academic achievement to evaluate applicants. For example, some schools now use performance-based assessments that measure critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration skills. Other schools are placing more emphasis on extracurricular activities, personal essays, and letters of recommendation. These alternative measures provide a more comprehensive picture of a student's abilities and potential for success in college.
Want to know which schools still require the SAT/ACT? Here you go!
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Florida
Georgia Institute of Technology
University of Georgia
Florida State University
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
University of Central Florida
Florida International University
National Liberal Arts Colleges
United States Naval Academy
United States Military Academy at West Point
United States Air Force Academy
New College of Florida
Freedman, Miriam Kurtzig. “Disabling the SAT.” Education Next, President & Fellows of Harvard College, 14 Jan. 2021, https://www.educationnext.org/disablingthesat/.
Wood, Sarah. “US News Education | Best Colleges | the Short List.” Top Colleges That Still Require Test Scores, U.S. News and World Report, LP, 20 Oct. 2022, https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/the-short-list-college.