Yale will require standardized test scores for admission

Yale University will require standardized test scores for the admissions of students applying for admission in the fall of 2025, becoming the second Ivy League university to abandon optional policies that were widely adopted during the Covid pandemic.

Yale officials said in an announcement Thursday that the move to an optional testing policy may have inadvertently hurt students from lower-income families whose test scores could have helped their chances.

Although it will require standardized tests, Yale said its policy will be “flexible on testing,” allowing students to submit scores from Advanced Placement courses or International Baccalaureate tests instead of SAT or ACT scores.

Yale’s decision, which will not affect students who applied during the current admissions cycle, follows a similar decision in February from Dartmouth College. Dartmouth, in Hanover, NH, says the analysis found that hundreds of students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who had solid scores — in the 1,400 range on the SAT — refused to submit them, fearing they had fallen too far below a perfect 1,600. In 2022, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced that it did returned his request for testing.

These institutions remain in the minority. Many chose to maintain their optional testing policies as the pandemic subsided.

The number of students taking the SAT fell to 1.7 million in 2022, down from 2.2 million in 2020.

More than 80 percent of four-year colleges — or at least 1,825 of the state’s degree-granting institutions — will not require SAT or ACT scores this fall, according to the Fair Test organization, which fights against standardized testing.

The anti-testing movement has long argued that standardized tests help fuel inequality, as many students from affluent families use tutors and coaches to boost their scores.

After last year’s Supreme Court decision banning race-conscious admissions, many experts predicted that test-optional policies would become even more widespread.

But some recent research questions whether no-test policies may actually be harming the students they were meant to help.

In January, Opportunity Insights, a Harvard-based group of economists, released a study that found test scores can help identify lower-income and underrepresented students who would succeed in college. High scores of less privileged students may signal high potential.

Yale, in New Haven, Conn., said test scores are especially valuable in evaluating students who attend high schools with fewer academic resources or college-preparatory courses.

Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions at Yale, said in a written statement released by the university that Yale has determined that test scores, while imperfect, predict academic success in college.

When students don’t submit test scores, the admissions committee focuses on other elements of the student’s record, Mr. Quinlan said. For students from privileged backgrounds, it’s easy to find substitutes for standardized tests, he said, citing teacher recommendations, advanced classes and extracurricular activities.

Yale recently said it received over 57,000 applications for admission this fall, a record number driven in part by the university’s test-optional policy. Acceptance rates at Yale are around 4 percent.

Mr. Quinlan said that Yale recently accepted 1,000 students who did not submit test scores and did relatively well in their Yale courses.

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