In 2021 the University of La Verne will go to a test-optional admissions policy, which means that applicants will have a choice of including their SAT or ACT test scores along with their applications – or not.
Although this is the trend among colleges and universities across the nation – more than 900 have gone test optional as of September – but not everyone here believes it is a great plan.
In an informal survey of ULV students, half thought the SAT should be optional, while the other half thought it should continue to be mandatory in the application process.
Among the 20 students surveyed on campus, some like sophomore sociology major Gabriella Medrano see the standardized test as a preparation for college classes and life.
“It’s important and hard,” Medrano said. “It helped prepare me for what to expect in college and how hard life can be. I worked really hard and studied and that’s how I got into La Verne.”
Other students took into account that many universities and programs do not require a test to enter in the next education route. The University of La Verne’s Physical Assistant Master program does not require the GRE during the application process.
“Some higher level programs or graduate schools don’t require the GRE for some of their programs,” said Diane Montano, senior child development major. “I don’t see why it’s essential to see if prospective students are ready for college with SAT scores.”
According to a 2018 study by Matthew Chingos of the Urban Institute, the SAT and other standardized tests are useful to check grade inflation at high schools but does not reflect on the success a student will have in college.
A 2018 report by researchers Amber M. Northern, Michael J. Petrilli, and Seth Gershenson found high school grade point averages increased at schools throughout the state, but the median GPA increased by 0.27 points in affluent schools and 0.17 points in less affluent schools.
The report says that parents and policy makers should be looking at both grades and test scores, but that many parents seem focused largely on grades.
Others considered the amount of SAT preparation made available to those who want to go to college.
“For my community, the black community, there needs to be more preparation,” said DaJohn Duplessis, sophomore sociology major. “Especially if it’s going to have that much weight on the future.”
SAT preparation can vary in difficulty for prospective college students. Self-guided SAT prep can cost $10 and up. Online study courses can cost from $75-$500.
An instructor-led preparation class can cost $75-$1,000 that ranges from 18-30 hours, according to Cost Higher Education’s website.
“Born to Win, Schooled to Lose,” a 2019 report by Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce found that, a child from the bottom quartile of socioeconomic status who has high test scores in kindergarten had a 3 in 10 chance of having a college education and a good entry-level job as a young adult, compared to a 7 in 10 chance for a child in the top quartile of socioeconomic status who has low test scores.
This report supports the idea that one’s environment can hinder their full potential to succeed, especially among those who are Black or Latinx.
“I think it should be optional, all of these exams are just a rip off,” said Carla Espinosa, junior history major.
“I feel like natural SAT scores would be a lot lower, and it really just shows how much money people have to prep for the SAT test. Many are just being taught on how to take a test not really to analyze it and learn it.”
The Georgetown report also showed that not only do socioeconomics reflect enrollment in colleges but graduation rates too.
Priscilla Applebee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.