Most colleges that temporarily suspended their ACT and SAT requirements during the pandemic have no plans to reinstate them. However, a mass movement to introduce test-blind guidelines, in which universities remove all applicants' ratings from the ratings, is unlikely in the near future.
These are two important takeaways from a new report on behalf of ACT Inc., who owns the ACT exam. The results – based on survey responses from 207 enrollment officers from various public and private institutions – provide an overview of how Covid-19 has turned the testing area on its head, forcing universities to adjust their policies and practices for the 2020-21 admissions cycle. As the report shows, many colleges rely on ACT and SAT scores for many purposes that go well beyond evaluating applicants. This makes it difficult to predict the role of tests in higher education a few years from now.
More than two-thirds of college officials with Covid-controlled, test-optional guidelines said "scores are too useful to give up entirely".
Although a long-term move towards optional test guidelines was underway before last March, school closings and test cancellations forced many institutions to adopt optional test guidelines for at least a year as a matter of necessity. About 60 percent of respondents did not plan to drop ACT and SAT requirements prior to the pandemic. the rest either planned or seriously thought about it. A majority of colleges that have upgraded to optional testing are unlikely to restore their requirements, the report said, although "data over the next few years is critical to understanding whether testing-optional guidelines are tenable."
Not so long ago, Hampshire College in Massachusetts was the only test-blind college in the country. Last year, several institutions – including the California Institute of Technology – announced temporary guidelines for test blind people. But how many universities could go this way permanently?
It's hard to tell right now. The survey asked respondents, "How likely is it that your facility will transition to a test-blind approval policy in the next three to five years?" likely ”) to 7 (“ extremely likely ”).
Of those surveyed at colleges whose guidelines for optional testing are pre-pandemic, 44 percent said 1 or 2. Of those surveyed at colleges that have introduced guidelines for optional tests due to Covid, 52 percent said 1 or 2. At the very least, consider such guidelines, including a handful of college respondents who continue to require ACT and SAT.
The survey asked respondents about the reasons their colleges are unlikely to become test blind. More than two-thirds of officials at colleges with Covid-driven testing options guidelines said "scores are too useful to give up entirely," compared to 27 percent of institutions with longstanding testing options guidelines.
Colleges rely on test scores throughout the enrollment process. More than 60 percent of respondents said their college used ACT and SAT to a moderate or significant extent to “recruit and recruit” students. Almost 60 percent stated that they used test results to a moderate or significant extent to determine merit scholarships.
51 percent of respondents said calculating merit scholarships was "high or extremely difficult" during this cycle, compared with 32 percent. The same was true for admissions decisions, and 29 percent said recruiting students was a major challenge because test results are not available for all applicants.
The survey asked enrollment officers about the main challenges facing their institutions. The two most important answers, cited by almost two-thirds of the respondents: “Obtaining” or “Finding” potential students and admitting enrolled students.
Even in times of upheaval and big changes in testing guidelines, some things haven't changed at all.
(tagsToTranslate) California Institute of Technology (t) Hampshire College (t) Student Life (t) Business (t) Scholarship and Research