The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) said Monday it was reinstating requirements that students provide standardized SAT or ACT test scores for future admissions. Early in the pandemic, many schools waived standardized testing requirements for incoming students or, like MIT, made reporting optional.
The temporary change was intended to relieve some of the unprecedented stresses and obstacles that students graduating from American high schools in 2020, 2021 and 2022 were facing. In 2020, the College Board, which administers the SAT, said millions of students were unable to take the test as scheduled in the spring of 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. He asked colleges and universities to be flexible in their admissions processes. The nonprofit that administers the ACT admissions test also announced disruptions for students taking the test.
But the Dean of Admissions and Student Financial Services at MIT, Stu Schmill, wrote in a new blog post that his assessment of incoming students is improved when he has access to student test scores.
“Our research shows that standardized tests help us better assess the academic preparation of all applicants, and also help us identify socioeconomically disadvantaged students who do not have access to advanced coursework or other enrichment opportunities that would otherwise demonstrate their MIT readiness,” Schmill wrote. “We believe a requirement is more fair and transparent than an optional testing policy.” He added that performance on standardized tests “is not central to our holistic admissions process,” and said MIT would consider students who may still not be able to safely pass the one of the standardized tests.
It remains to be seen how many other schools could follow MIT’s lead and reinstate their own standardized testing requirements. More than 1,800 schools have made standardized test scores an optional part of their admissions process for the high school class of 2022, according to educational nonprofit FairTest.
The College Board has also tried to make the SAT more convenient in other ways. The organization said in January it was scrapping old-fashioned pencil-and-paper exams and going all-digital for future tests, starting in 2024 in the US and 2023 for other countries. . Students will take the test at test centers and the test duration will be reduced from three hours to two hours. The College Board also said it would allow more time per question and that the reading passages would “reflect a wider range of topics that represent the work students read in college.” Calculators will be allowed during the math section of the SAT, and test scores will be available to students more quickly.