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The University of Maryland system abolishes SAT / ACT admission requirements

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The University of Maryland system has voted to drop SAT and ACT as a requirement for admission to its 12 universities. But that doesn’t mean prospective students are necessarily disconnected when it comes to standardized tests for college admission.

The University of Maryland system has voted to drop SAT and ACT as a requirement for admission to its 12 universities. But that doesn’t mean prospective students are necessarily disconnected when it comes to standardized tests for college admission.

Instead, the schools that make up the university system can decide their own policies. They may waive this requirement, create a policy for selecting tests, or choose to require students to take SAT or ACT for admission.



The USM Board of Regents voted on the issue Friday after discussing the pros and cons of using standardized tests as a requirement in the admissions process.

“It is expected that each campus will, in effect, clarify its position as to whether the test is not mandatory or necessary and will be clearly articulated in its campus policy and all its processes so that students applying to this institution clearly understand what to expect from them, ”explained Joan Bowman, USM’s senior vice rector for academic and student affairs, to board members.

For many years, there has been a debate about the importance of SAT as a predictor of student success in college.

Boffman told board members that there was another tool that proved useful. “Over the years, we’ve found that a grade point average – a grade point average in high school or in a public college – is one of the best predictors of student success.”

At the same time, Boffman offered to warn too much hope for the average score. “There are concerns, and we’re keeping a close eye on it, that inflation rates in high school are a problem. So in fact we urged our foster staff to be very careful in monitoring the average scores ”.

If schools abandon standardized tests as tools for admission, Bowman has suggested that there are a number of other things that schools may consider.

For example, she said the University of Maryland at College Park has 26 indicators in the admissions process – with SAT or ATC being just one of them.

Daryl Pines, president of the University of Maryland at College Park, told members that after adopting an optional model during the pandemic, data on its impact was “clouded” but that: “We decided to inform our future students that we are extending the optional test (to) 2027 year so we can understand the data after the pandemic on how well the students are doing. “

Freeman Grabowski, president of the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, said that while waiving the use of SAT and ACT may be helpful, students – especially color students – should be helped to develop the skills needed to perform well on standardized tests. Grabowski continued, “because when you think of medical school, or law school, or CPA, or a nurse’s exam, or a teacher’s exam, it’s all standardized tests.”

While a number of board members cited long-standing concerns that the tests themselves are an obstacle for many students because of built-in cultural bias, there were regents who talked about how standardized tests could help a student gain admission.

Board member Andy Smarrick explained that many students come from circumstances that may prevent them from participating in “high-profile” internships and extracurricular or other activities that can create a student resume. The same students who could succeed in the standardized test may be excluded if the tests are withdrawn.

Smarik said there was evidence on the issue. “There are probably hundreds of thousands of students across the country who, when they take this test, their application is amplified.”

Louis Pope, another member of the Regents, also expressed concern about the possibility of waiving the tests.

He told board members: “I got into the University of Maryland College Park during a very easy administrative policy in the early 1970s, and I thank you.”

He added, “When I was in 9th and 10th grade, my grade point average was bad because I didn’t really get together until I was probably junior or senior,” and at the time did it very well . Pope said he was concerned that by focusing more on average scores, “it really punishes children who bloom late.”

The final vote was 11-2. Two members were absent. Smarik and the Pope voted against the measure.

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