Mixed feelings as some colleges no longer require standardized testing

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(ABC 6 News) – According to Forbes, more than 80% of four-year colleges will not require standardized tests this fall. Leaving many with mixed feelings. But, not all are against the new rule.

The myth used to be that test scores will determine your whole future. After test-taking requirements shifted because of the pandemic, some say this way is better.

“I mean there’s nothing I can do about what I had to take it,” said Lydia Miller, a junior at the University of Minnesota – Rochester.

Serena Handrick, also a junior at the university, said: “I mean I’m not really mad. I’m kind of over it. But at the beginning, I was like ‘I stressed so much about this and now it doesn’t even matter.'”

Then there’s David Reisenauer, a senior at the university: “It’s always the question of what’s a good measure of establishing whether a student is going to do well or not in a collegiate setting.”

All three had to take the ACT. Like these three students, the university thinks your ACT score is not the only measure of success.

“We spend a good deal of our time analyzing the students’ high school coursework. What classes did they take? What was their GPA?” said Terry Whittum, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management at the university.

Whittum says it’s not just your high school GPA that plays a factor.

“We take the GPA directly from the high school but then we also calculate a separate STEM GPA.”

Over at Winona State University, the idea to cut standardized test scores was in the works before the pandemic. As Dr. Denise McDowel, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Life at the university told ABC 6 News:

“ACT and SAT scores became more of a barrier to access to higher education than an entrance to higher education and we’re finding that to be true.”

In 2018, 97% of Winona students submitted an ACT score. In 2022, only 56% submitted one.

“So you can kind of see that decline from those who were taking it pre-pandemic, and then once the pandemic hit, and then folks who just now recovered,” added Dr. McDowel.

On a national level, the ACT saw a big drop in test takers. In 2022, about 1.4 million took the test. A much smaller number than the 1.9 million test takers in 2018.

Rose Babington, Senior Director of State Partnerships for ACT said, “What that different reflects to us too are the numbers of students who have the access and opportunity to have that ACT score.”

Babington noted there are current seniors who will test through July to qualify for scholarships and different programs.

ABC 6 reached out to the SAT to see what testing patterns it was seeing. Its response was a look at testing score statistics rather than a look at test taker statistics.