Counted among the most renowned US universities that have adopted test-free admissions, the California Institute of Technology (CalTech)has decided to not review the SAT/ACT scores for admission purposes until 2025. Additionally, California's four-year public institutions, the University of California and California State University, are likely to follow the suit and permanently not required exam standardised exam scores.
In June 2020, CalTech, the esteemed private research institute in Pasadena, made the switch to test-free admissions as the Covid-19 outbreak closed down the standard testing sites.
The CalTech's internal study suggeststhat standardised test scores "have little to no power" to evaluate academic performance in subjects like mathematics and physics which first-year students must take as part of the university's core curriculum.
Initially, CalTech discontinued entrance exams in view of the fact that some students were unable to take the exams because of Covid-19 constraints. In June 2020, the university declared a two-year testing moratorium that was prolonged in 2022 until the Fall 2023 intake enrollment cycle.
Accordingly to a statement from the university, the decision to keep the testing restriction intact was made after a "rigorous internal analysis" of the academic performance of the preceding seven cohorts of first-year undergraduate students. This includes individuals who matriculated both before and following the commencement of test-free admissions at CalTech.
The university believes that following these rules will enable them to continue researching connections between ACT scores and SAT scores as well as the academic performances of applicants.While students advance through the first-year university core curriculum, the prognostic potential of entrance exam scores seems to wane, according to CalTech.
Based on a statement made by Jared Leadbetter, professor of environmental microbiology and chair of the university's first-year admissions committee, a consensus has emerged among professors and professional staff involved in the university's admissions process. Several other important parameters of an application intervene as more reliable predictors of the likelihood of a potential applicant's success.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a rival of CalTech, came to the opposite decision and announced in March 2022 that it would reinstate the mandatory requirement of test scores for admission consideration. Standardised test scores, according to MIT, have been a good indicator of an applicant's academic performance.
Critics of the SAT exam and theACT exam contend that these tests favour wealthy students who can afford to bolster their test results through intensive test preparation services, so eliminating their less fortunate competitors. The ACT and College Board, the two organisations that administer the SAT, say that the exams are not biased and can help students find SAT scholarships and ACT scholarships.
Even when limitations relating to the coronavirus loosen, test-optional and test-free policies continue. In the fall of 2023, more than 1,700 universities will not require test scores for admission, as per FairTest, a group that promotes the sparing use of standardised tests.Its figure represents universities that have never requested standardised test scores for admissions in the past. Even nowthere are numerous popular US universities accepting applications without ACT/SAT scores.
Other colleges began adopting test-optional practices early in the pandemic, putting students in a bind as to whether to take the test or not. Although these universities did not require SAT or ACT scores for admission, scores submitted were still reviewed.
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Source: Higher Ed Drive