Does "Test-Optional" REALLY Mean Optional?
The pandemic has college admissions offices scrambling. They have long relied on test scores as one of the key variables they use to evaluate candidates, yet according to FairTest, two-thirds of colleges surveyed in October 2020 had been forced by our collective circumstances to adopt some blend of the test-optional or test-blind policy.
MOST parents and students I speak with LOATHE standardized testing. Feelings aside, most still have questions about how to navigate this portion of the admissions process. If test-optional is truly an option, the big question is: should we throw in the towel on prepping and sitting for the tests at all?
In most cases, the bottom line is YES - your student should still pay attention to TESTING and TEST PREP.
As Mike Bergin, of the podcast, Tests and The Rest, points out in an article published in April 2020, “applicants without test scores are often admitted at lower rates than their score-reporting peers.”
Interested in learning more about what's behind the test scores? My colleagues over at Tests and the Rest recently dropped an interview with education writer and author, Natalie Wexler. If you are so inclined to take a deeper dive, below are five topics addressed in Episode #164 — Don't Shoot the Messenger: What Testing Tells Us.
- Do college admissions tests merely reflect cultural or racial bias?
- Do wealthier families have an unfair advantage because they can afford expensive test prep?
- How does the elementary school curriculum relate to the inequities we see in high school?
- What can schools do to help make college admissions and standardized testing more equitable?
- What is the role of writing instruction in preventing and compensating for educational inequity?
Not so interested in the deep dive, but need personalized advice on how to navigate the shifting test-optional landscape?
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