New York University Modifies Standardized Exam Policy

By Staff
April 23, 2009

New York University announced this week that it will no longer require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores, although they will still need to send in scores from some standardized exams.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the new policy will allow students more flexibility with regards to which scores may be submitted: Applicants will be permitted to send scores from the SAT and two Advanced Placement test; scores from three SAT subject tests; or scores from three AP tests, with language tests excluded. Currently, NYU's policy requires applicants to submit scores from either the SAT or the ACT along with two SAT subject tests.

Students demonstrating extraordinary accomplishment-such as by authoring a book or winning a national competition-may submit SAT scores only, two subject tests or two AP exams.

"This process is one that allows great latitude in selecting those students for whom we believe NYU is a good fit," said Barbara Hall, the school's associate provost for enrollment management, who was quoted in Washington Square News.

NYU's announcement indicated that officials were concerned that the level of SAT scores-just under 1400-might have been discouraging students with lower scores from applying. "This may include students who might have some remarkable talents that we would welcome," said the statement, "but whose SAT score is not necessarily indicative of their ability to be successful at NYU."

NYU's policy change comes at a time when many institutions of higher learning are dropping standardized test requirements. Last year, the National Association for College Admission Counseling issued a report calling on colleges to reconsider SAT requirements. Moreover, a new study released last month indicated that making standardized test scores optional would increase diversity at schools.

The Associated Press [from an article originally located at] reports that in North Carolina, Wake Forest University just admitted its first applicants who did not have to submit SAT or ACT scores. Last week, the school hosted a college admissions conference which addressed the latest research on standardized testing.

Inside Higher Ed notes that David Hawkins, director of public policy and research for NACAC, said Monday that recent interest in moving away from SAT requirements but maintaining standardized tests may reflect a reaction to his association's report.

"I think we may be escaping the polar debate of 'do we test or do we not test,'" he noted, "in favor of a discussion of 'what is the best way to test.'"

Robert Schaeffer, public education director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, a group critical of standardized testing, saw the policy change at NYU as a sign that "SAT skepticism is spreading like wildfire."

"We have viewed SAT-optional not as a one-size-fits-all, but as a spectrum of activity," he said, "and we applaud any institution that has moved to de-emphasize test scores."

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