Wake Forest University

Test-Optional Movement Picks Up Steam

Rethinking Admissions

Continuing the Conversation

Test-Optional Movement Picks Up Steam

As two New Hampshire schools join the growing list of colleges and universities to make the SAT and ACT tests optional for applicants, they are being applauded for their foresight. Both St. Anselm College and Southern New Hampshire University announced their decision to go test-optional this month. “The national movement among schools to place more emphasis on a student’s academic and extracurricular contributions in high school and less on standardized tests is a welcome trend in education,” wrote the Nashua Telegraph,  in an editorial. In explaining the Saint Anselm decision, the dean of admission said it was based on empirical evidience. “Six years of data show that, at Saint Anselm, the best predictor of academic success is a record of academic achievement in rigorous high school coursework,” Nancy Davis Griffin said in a statement . “By becoming test optional, we hope to reach qualified students who may not have considered Saint Anselm.” At Southern New Hampshire University, the president said the decision is in keeping with the school’s philosophy. “We have built an admissions process around knowing students personally and holistically. Standardized tests offer one vantage point and we’re happy to add the results into the mix, but we know so much more about a student by the time we accept or deny, including their academic abilities, that not having the test scores means very little,” said SNHU President Paul LeBlanc. FairTest, a Boston-based group, is among those praising the trend after conducting research on colleges and universities that have gone test-optional. In its report on the issue, the group said: “The successful experience of schools included in these case studies, and those of the hundreds of other institutions that have de-emphasized standardized tests in admissions, make it abundantly clear that there is ‘life after the SAT’ (or ACT).”

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