For the last couple of years, standardized tests like the ACT and SAT were dropped as an application requirement for many colleges and universities, as there was too much disruption in education because of the pandemic.
But now, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says it’s bringing the testing back as part of the admissions process.
“What they’re doing is very unusual in the admissions world,” said Bob Schaeffer, executive director of Boston-based FairTest, a watchdog group that pushes for testing optional policies.
He says more than 700 schools dropped testing because of the pandemic, and only a handful have restored it.
“Test score barrier excludes low-income students, second-language students, recent immigrant students and others who have talent, but can’t meet that test score requirement,” he said.
“Our research shows standardized tests help us better assess the academic preparedness of all applicants,” MIT said in a statement.
The school says the tests also help identify disadvantaged students who don’t attend schools that offer advanced coursework or can’t afford expensive enrichment opportunities.
“I do think a lot of institutions will follow suit. I wish more would say no,” said Lesley University Professor Lisa Fiore, who has studied assessment measures. “I do applaud institutions that have made these tests optional, because I do think it opens different avenues for creativity, for subjective measures of student achievement.”
AT MIT, the requirement will go into effect for students who are applying for the class of 2027.
“I do, without question, think that MIT is the outlier, but more schools are going to follow suit,” said Rob Franek, editor in chief of the The Princeton Review, which helps students prepare for standardized tests.
“I think it’s hard to call it a trend at this point, but we should really pay attention to what other top colleges and universities across the country plan to do,” said Christine Lilley of test preparation company Kaplan.