Call for Test-Optional Admissions for the 2020-2021 Admissions Cycle

Call for Test-Optional Admissions for the 2020-2021 Admissions Cycle

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Jennifer Jessie started this petition to Admissions Officers and

During a normal admission cycle many students may be asked to find the meaning of the y-intercept in a linear equation on the SAT math section or to recall from memory a series of equations for the ACT math section. They may be asked to use charts and graphs to locate information on the science section on the ACT. They may be asked to determine whether to delete or keep a sentence for the ACT/SAT writing section. In addition, students may be asked the main idea of a passage for the ACT/SAT reading section.

This year, the world has shifted under many student’s feet due to the Coronavirus. As a result, students are confronted with a new set of questions when it comes to the ACT/SAT.

These questions include:

Do I need to wear a mask and gloves during the ACT/SAT test?
Can I refuse to take my mask and gloves off for inspection during the ACT/SAT?
How far apart do I need to sit during the ACT/SAT to avoid infection?
Do I even have a say in how far apart I sit during the test?
Will I catch the Coronavirus during the ACT/SAT?
If I do catch the Coronavirus during the ACT/SAT will I survive?
Could I expose my family to the Coronavirus if I attend the ACT/SAT?

These are some of the many questions facing our students this year. These questions can be avoided with the simple decision by colleges and universities to go test-optional during the 2020/2021 Admissions Cycle.

Certain boxes must be checked for college admissions to ensure students have a chance of an acceptance letter. As a result, many students felt compelled to attend their SAT this past weekend despite the warnings about social distancing. Across the country, students were willing to risk exposure to a disease in order to obtain the necessary SAT score for college admissions.

Right now, if a student wants to apply to a college or university that does not have a test-optional policy they must do so with an ACT/SAT score. Coronavirus or not, that student must find a way to take the test before submitting their application even if that means risking their lives. If they are unable to take the test, then the student does not have what they need to apply.

The entire world has shifted due to the Coronavirus, it is time for admissions officers to catch up and step up. Admissions officers need to announce test-optional policies designed to accommodate students during a global pandemic. This is especially true now in light of the cancellation of the April ACT and May SAT.

A test-optional policy allows students gives students the option to decide whether they want to submit their college application with or without an ACT/SAT score.

The keyword in the phrase test-optional is “optional.” Students who are proud of the scores they’ve earned can still submit those scores. But a test-optional policy allows students facing a global pandemic to still have options in admissions. A test-optional policy empowers students to make the best choice for them.

The fundamental question we are facing is if we should we ask students to risk their lives during a pandemic to meet an admissions requirement? Do we believe an ACT/SAT taken during a pandemic will produce a score that will genuinely reflect their capabilities? Is now, during a global pandemic, the best time for standardized tests?

According to the University of California Academic Senate “Report of the UC Academic Council Standardized Testing Task Force,” there are 14 factors that go into admissions for University of California. Many colleges and universities claim ACT/SAT plays a factor but isn’t always the deciding factor in admissions when asked. If this is the case, then allowing students to submit this year without an ACT/SAT score should not have a significant impact on the admission cycle. Why not use the various other factors to determine admissions for students who choose not to submit ACT/SAT scores?

A test-optional approach would empower students and their families to decide whether they can/should take the ACT/SAT and whether it is worth the risks. It would take pressure off of students during time where the Coronavirus has turned their lives upside down.

I call on higher education and admissions professionals to move forward with announcing test-optional policies for admissions and place student’s health above their ACT/SAT scores. I call on those who agree to sign the petition below asking admissions officers from around the country to allow test-optional to be a part of admissions.


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