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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Academics & Research

UH to continue waiving SAT, ACT requirements through Summer 2022


Undergraduate programs will not require standardized test scores until Summer 2022, while the requirement varies for graduate programs. | File photo

In response to the ongoing pandemic limiting available test dates and sites, the UH System has extended its decision to waive SAT and ACT requirements for incoming students until Summer 2022.

The University adopted the policy in Spring 2020 for undergraduate programs for the Summer and Fall 2020 semesters, while each graduate program made its own decision on standardized testing requirements. Students who apply without test scores must submit a resume with special talents, volunteer experience, honors, work and family duties.

“This is a time that requires all of us to be flexible and creative,” said Provost Paula Myrick Short. 

There are other ways to ensure that students who are admitted to the University will be successful, Short said.

Exploratory studies freshman Elysse Jackson had planned to take the SAT and ACT, but couldn’t find available testing locations because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jackson also had concerns about exposure to coronavirus at a testing site, as her job requires her to be healthy.

“I work at a preschool, so I can’t risk getting sick and bringing that to the kids,” Jackson said.

Jackson believes that the University’s decision works in her favor since she doesn’t think her standardized test scores are representative of her performance as a student.

“I don’t feel like standardized tests show my academic success. I don’t feel like that’s the way to show my abilities,” Jackson said. “Being able to manage so many clubs and maintain good grades shows where I stand as a student.”

Other universities have also made standardized testing optional, including the University of California system, citing concerns over testing availability.

The National Association for College Admission Counseling also voiced concerns over standardized testing in a recent report, which suggests that testing agencies and administrators have not ensured consistent testing location availability, experience quality and score integrity. 

The report added that test preparation courses have become a multi-billion dollar business that contributes to equity challenges and questions the exams’ credibility to measure student ability, concluding that lifting the requirements for the 2020-2021 due to public health concerns.

More data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that public institutions that continue to require test scores for admissions can lose tens of thousands of students to institutions from in or out of the state that don’t require these, noting that so far 55 percent of all four-year colleges have waived these requirements.

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