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Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Colleges return to standardized test requirements

As colleges question the effectiveness of test-optional admissions, many are reinstating a SAT/ACT requirement for the 2024-2025 admissions cycle.
The+college+and+career+center+emphasizes+the+need+for+standardized+testing+for+students+aiming+for+selective+colleges+and+urges+them+to+use+the+school%E2%80%99s+resources+to+prepare.
Michael Wang
The college and career center emphasizes the need for standardized testing for students aiming for selective colleges and urges them to use the school’s resources to prepare.

On April 11, Harvard College announced that it will require applicants for the class of 2029 to submit standardized test scores. Harvard is joining colleges such as Yale, MIT, Brown and Dartmouth in requiring the ACT/SAT, believing that tests are a strong predictor of college success.

These changes stem from new research showing that higher standardized test scores correlate with college success. For example, a study done by Opportunity Insights, a research initiative by the Harvard Department of Economics, found that students with a higher score on the ACT/SAT had a higher college GPA than those with lower scores, regardless of socioeconomic status. This was a much stronger correlation than high school and college GPA.

Initially, many colleges went test-optional during the pandemic as a result of difficulties administering standardized tests during quarantine. Controversy regarding how inequality affects standardized testing also played a role in choosing to go test-optional. One 2023 study from Harvard noted that the top 1% of Americans were 13 times more likely to score greater than a 1300 than low-income families on the SAT, suggesting that wealth played a large role in standardized test scores. 

It seems that test-optional policies convinced many students who did not previously consider applying to top universities to submit an application, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. This has led to an increase in overall applicants to these schools according to a study from the American Educational Research Journal. Regardless, top universities have decided that the value of standardized tests in determining college readiness outweighs potential inequity.

Career and College Coordinator Madison Hendrickson believes that Mounds View already prepares students for these now test-required prestigious schools. “Regardless if it’s test-optional or not, most [students who are applying to Ivy League schools] are going to be prepared to take a standardized test anyway,” said Hendrickson. “So I don’t think it affects that many people.” 

Hendrickson recommends taking advantage of the resources at Mounds View regardless of the school you are applying to. “You take [the ACT] as juniors at Mounds View, which I think is great […] I encourage students to take it until you get a score you’re happy with.” 

Especially for students aiming for selective schools, Hendrickson emphasizes the importance of standardized tests. “[These students should be] taking steps to sign up for tests, getting the help you need and doing whatever means necessary.” 

Despite many prestigious institutions requiring standardized test scores, over 80% of colleges remain test-optional according to FairTest, an organization against testing requirements. “Based on the conversations I’ve had with a lot of institutions, I don’t see [a shift to testing requirements] happening super soon,” said Hendrickson. “I think a lot of them have adapted to the process of being test-optional, and we’ll probably continue that for a while.”

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About the Contributors
Suha Sharif
Suha Sharif, Staff Reporter
Suha is a junior staff reporter, and this year is her first year on The Viewer.
Michael Wang
Michael Wang, Online Editor-in-Chief and News Editor
Hello! I am Michael, and I will be The Viewer's online Editor-in-Chief for the 2023-2024 school year. This will be my third year with The Viewer. I am involved in the Econ Team, Student Council, Science Olympiad, and more activities. Reach out to me at [email protected] if you have any questions. Awards:   
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