Elite colleges are ditching a major admissions requirement

FEBRUARY 05: Pupils at Williamwood High School sit prelim exams on February 5, 2010 in Glasgow, Scotland As the UK gears up for one of the most hotly contested general elections in recent history it is expected that that the economy, immigration, the NHS and education are likely to form the basis of many of the debates. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesMany colleges have dropped standardised-test requirements for admissions.

Conversations about SAT and ACT scores are ubiquitous for high-school students applying to colleges.

Increasingly, however, many colleges and universities have begun to eschew mandatory standardised-test scores as requirements for their application process.

Amherst College, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Vassar College, and Williams College have all dropped requirements that students take SAT subject-matter tests for admission, The Boston Globe reported.

The elite schools are no longer requiring the tests, also referred to as the SAT II. The reasoning: The exams are not reliable indicators of students’ performance in college and may harm low-income students.

“We want to make the application process as fair to all students as possible,” Mary Dettloff, a spokeswoman for Williams College, told The Globe. “We felt like we weren’t getting any valuable data from the SAT II scores to help us.”

The news comes on the heels of similar pushes to drop the regular SAT and ACT exams from college admissions.

Last year, George Washington University — with 10,000 undergraduates and 25,000 total students — became the largest private university in the US News and World Report’s list of best colleges to forego rigid testing requirements in favour of a more holistic application review process.

And there are more than 800 other schools that do not use SAT or ACT scores for admitting substantial numbers of students into bachelor’s degree programs, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, which tracks the schools with open testing policies.

Many of the schools on that list, however, are less selective private schools. The move to drop SAT II exams from admissions requirements signals that more elite schools are starting to rethink the merits of standardised testing.

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