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Education Blog

Thoughts on Standardized Testing

The Class of 2024 all want to know about their options regarding testing policy. With Columbia and William & Mary recently releasing an update regarding testing for admissions, counselors, students, parents, and advisors are curious to see how standardized testing will impact the next class.

In a Forbes article, Columbia states, "Students who choose not to submit test scores will not be at a disadvantage in our process. We will continue to evaluate all submitted information within an individualized application review process that considers the unique combination of circumstances shaping each applicant's journey. The rigor of a student's curriculum, their academic achievement, and their demonstrated intellectual curiosity will remain central to our review."

William & Mary completed a three-year pilot where they tracked applicants and found that students who chose to submit scores and those who decided to apply test-optional were successful and had equal retention rates.

Read the article here.

Williams Educational believes that when colleges across the nation chose to be test-optional during the pandemic, student stress levels decreased significantly. In addition, parents and students have praised admissions for test-optional opportunities for several reasons:

  1. Promoting Equity: Test-optional policies can help level the playing field for students with limited access to test preparation resources or face other barriers to standardized testing, such as test anxiety or language barriers.

  2. Diversifying the applicant pool: By eliminating or reducing the emphasis on standardized test scores, test-optional policies can encourage more diverse applicants who may have excellent grades and other accomplishments but lower test scores to apply.

  3. Providing flexibility: Test-optional policies provide flexibility for students who may have faced unforeseen circumstances or challenges that impacted their ability to perform on standardized tests.

  4. Encouraging holistic review: Test-optional policies can encourage colleges to consider a student's overall academic record, extracurricular activities, and personal experiences in addition to test scores, resulting in a more comprehensive and fair evaluation of applicants.

  5. Decreasing stress: Test-optional policies can reduce stress and pressure on students, as they no longer feel their future hinges on a single test score from a single day!

Test-optional policies have the potential to promote equity, diversity, and fairness in college admissions while providing more flexibility and reducing stress for students. However, on the flip side, their drive, stamina, and persistence in pursuing a high score also say something about a student's character. There are so many ways to look at standardized testing in admissions. The bottom line is families have to figure out what is best for them. For more information on test-optional schools, visit FairTest.

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