Colorado College announced it has become a test optional school for all applicants (freshmen and transfers) effective with applicants for the Fall 2020 term. Up until now, Colorado College employed a ‘flexible testing’ admissions model. In other words, applicants had to take the ACT, SAT or any three exams (ACT, SAT, AP, IB, TOEFL) of their choice as long as at least one of the tests was quantitative and another was considered a verbal/writing test.
Mark Hatch, the schools’s Vice President of Enrollment, explained, “Test scores are only one of many criteria that are considered in an applicant’s academic portfolio.” Additionally, the press release noted Colorado College has not seen any correlation between standardized test scores and retention and graduation rates. Instead, it’s found a strong correlation between these factors and high school GPA.
There has been a growing trends towards test optional admissions policies. We tend to only report it when it is implemented by a highly ranked college such as Colorado College. However, Xavier recently announced it was going test optional. The University of Miami also announced it will be partially test optional. More specifically, architecture and music students no longer have to submit standardized test scores to Miami.
Each school that goes test optional makes it much easier for successive schools to follow suit. At some point, we believe we could cross the so-called ‘tipping point’ where enough applicants could find enough test optional schools to not even bother with the standardized tests. If and when we hit that tipping point, expect the flood gates to open and watch the standardized tests go the way of the dinosaur. To summarize, we are not yet at that tipping point and there is a lot of business to be lost if we hit it, so expect resistance. Nonetheless, it could happen and we’re confident the smart people in the test prep industry wouldn’t have much trouble making a career transition in this information economy.