DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — The Iowa Board of Regents will decide in a meeting Wednesday if they will continue to require students to submit standardized test scores to get into the state’s three public universities.
The University of Iowa, Iowa State and UNI will consider a permanent test-optional admissions policy after having a temporary policy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means high school students would no longer have to take the ACT or SAT to get into these schools.
“You know, things have changed a little bit. but I think colleges have kind of discovered through this process that maybe the tests aren’t as big of a deal as we had originally thought. There are other things that we could be looking at to see if college is a good fit for students or if they’re going to be a good match with our institution,” said Central Academy Counselor, Kristin Hilton.
Standardized tests have been a means to evaluate students for decades, but things have shifted. Recently accuracy of these tests and inequalities among students who can afford more test prep have been topics of discussion.
If approved by the BOR they would still review student submitted test scores using the “Regent Admissions Index” which combines a high school GPA, test score and high school credit hours in core subjects.
If no test score is submitted, They would skip the RAI and do an individual review of that student’s application, but ACT says that this can be subjective as grades can vary for many reasons.
“I think, you know, grades are clearly a very important indicator of readiness for academic success in college. There’s no question that’s very consistent. I think the issue with grades is that there they aren’t standard across district to district state to state and so a 4.0 and one high school may mean something very, very different from a 4.0 and a different high school that has the means and the ability to offer, say more rigorous courses in science, for example,” said The CEO of ACT, Janet Godwin.
If the BOR makes the switch, many education professionals say they will still encourage students to take the test as it is a way to evaluate how ready they are and can help them apply for scholarships.