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Caltech will not count SAT and ACT scores until 2025


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A quick dive:

  • Caltech will not review the SAT and ACT scores of undergraduate students applying for admission until fall 2025, extending the pandemic-era kibosh on admissions exams. it was announced last week.
  • The prestigious private research institution in Pasadena initially switched to test-free admissions in June 2020 when the spread of the coronavirus shut down regular exam sites.
  • Caltech said an internal study found that standardized test scores have “little or no power” to predict academic performance in required math and physics courses for first-year students in the institute’s major.

Dive Insight:

The California Institute of Technology (CalTech) is one of the most prominent institutions to participate without testing, which means that it will not revise the evaluation scores. Both of California’s four-year public systems, University of California and California State Universityalso will not count points forever.

At the beginning of the pandemic, many other colleges switched to elective classesin which they did not require the SAT or ACT for admission, but still looked at submitted scores.

The optional and free testing policies remain in place even as coronavirus restrictions are eased. In the fall of 2023, more than 1,700 colleges will not require test scores for admission. according to FairTest, an organization that advocates for the limited use of standardized assessments. It includes colleges that have historically never asked for scores.

Caltech initially waived entrance exams in recognition of students’ inability to pass tests during pandemic-related building closures. In June 2020, he announced a two-year moratorium on testing, which last year it then extended to the fall 2023 enrollment cycle.

The institute said in a statement that the decision to continue the testing ban resulted from a “rigorous internal analysis” of the previous seven cohorts of first-year students and their academic performance. This covers students who entered before and after Caltech began test-free admissions.

Adherence to this policy will allow CalTech to continue to study links between test scores and academic performance, the statement said.

Caltech said the predictive power of grade-point scores “seems to wane as students progress through the first-year core curriculum.”

“There is a consensus among faculty and staff involved in admissions at Caltech,” Jared Leadbetter, professor of environmental microbiology and chair of the institution’s first-year admissions committee, said in a statement. “This means that many other key application attributes are stronger indicators of the potential for student success here.”

This was the opposite conclusion reached by one of CalTech’s peers, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which announced in March it would revitalize entrance testing requirements. MIT said test scores help predict student performance.

Critics of the SAT and ACT argue that the tests target affluent students who can afford to boost their scores through exhaustive test preparation and then exclude their less-affluent peers. Testing providers, the ACT and the College Board, which administers the SAT, argue that the tests are not discriminatory and can give students a scholarship opportunity.

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