August 19, 2019
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Some Maine colleges downplay test scores for admission

BDN File | BDN
BDN File | BDN
Unity College is among 12 schools in Maine that no longer rely on or have placed less emphasis on standardized test scores for admission.

BANGOR, Maine — Eleven Maine colleges and universities are among 850 schools in the nation placing less emphasis on admissions test scores, according to a national group opposed to standardized testing.

The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, or FairTest, this week released an updated list of U.S. higher education institutions that don’t emphasise or no longer require scores from tests such as the SAT and ACT as a condition of admission.

The Maine schools included on the list are Bates College in Lewiston, Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Colby College in Waterville, College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine College of Art in Portland, Thomas College in Waterville, Unity College and four of the seven state universities — University of Maine at Augusta, University of Maine at Fort Kent, University of Maine at Farmington and University of Maine at Presque Isle.

More than 30 schools dropped admissions score mandates in the past year, according to FairTest, which works to diminish the effect test scores have on admissions processes.

“This is the fastest growth rate ever for test-optional policies,” said FairTest Director Bob Schaeffer. “The surge took place in the face of planned revisions to the SAT and ACT. Clearly, more and more institutions recognize that no test — neither the SAT nor ACT, old or new — is needed for high quality admissions.”

FairTest points to a 2014 report from two former Bates College admissions officials, William Hiss and Valerie Franks, that examined student performance data at 33 test-optional schools. Their research showed a difference of just five-hundredths of a point in GPA and six-tenths of 1 percent in graduation rates between students who submitted test results and those who did not.

College Board, the company behind the SAT, has countered FairTest in the past, pointing out that the vast majority of schools in the United States still look to standardized tests as an important aspect of determining whether a student can make it in college.

College Board has said that test scores are “equally as predictive” as high school GPA in determining a student’s chance of success.

Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.

 

Correction: A previous version of this report erroneously included the New England School of Communications in Bangor among U.S. higher education institutions that don’t emphasise or no longer require scores from tests such as the SAT and ACT as a condition of admission.


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