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Update: 'Test-optional' list longer by one

A decision by Colorado College to allow applicants to submit Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate scores in place of SAT or ACT results puts the college on the "test-optional" list, a spokesman for the National Center for Fair & Open Testing told me today.

FairTest will be happy to claim Colorado College for its test-optional movement, a trend toward colleges no longer requiring the SAT or ACT. Why? It's far more significant when a competitive college such as Colorado College drops the SAT mandate than when a marginally competitive college goes test-optional. The Colorado Springs school will rank among the most selective institutions on the test-optional list, which includes Bates, Colby and Middlebury.

Colorado College's new policy "appears quite similar to those already in place at Middlebury, Colby and NYU," all of which are on the test-optional list, with an appropriate footnote, said Bob Schaeffer, spokesman for FairTest.

Schaeffer explained:

"Test-optional" has become a term-of-art referring to a range of practices. More precisely, we refer to our list as including schools which have deemphasized their use of ACT and SAT in admissions decisions. It includes colleges and universities which ignore ACT/SAT scores even when they are submitted, those that allow all students to choose whether their scores will be considered, those that extend this option only to applicants who meet other criteria (usually minimum class rank or GPA requirements; and those who allow other types of standardized exams (AP/IB/Subject Tests/Local Exams/Placement Tests)to substitue for the ACT/SAT. As the Chronicle of Higher Education described it, there lots of "shades of gray" as the movement away from exclusive reliance on the ACT/SAT expands and matures.

Officials for the Colorado institution said they do not consider their new policy "test-optional." Read the original blog post for a full explanation.

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By Daniel de Vise  |  June 22, 2010; 3:42 PM ET
Categories:  Administration , Admissions , Rankings  | Tags: Colorado College, Colorado College test-optional, FairTest, colleges drop SAT requirement, test-optional colleges  
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