Dartmouth will again require SAT and ACT scores, after a pandemic pause

A tour group makes its way through Dartmouth College’s campus, in Hanover, N.H., in April 2023.

Charles Krupa/AP

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Charles Krupa/AP

A tour group makes its way through Dartmouth College’s campus, in Hanover, N.H., in April 2023.

Charles Krupa/AP

Dartmouth College has announced it will once again require applicants to submit standardized test scores, beginning with the class of 2029.

This comes after the Ivy League college, located in New Hampshire, opted to make test scores optional in 2020, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new study conducted by the college found test scores could have helped less advantaged students, including first-generation students and students from low-income families, gain access to the school.

The Dartmouth professors who led the study also found that test scores helped bring in students from high schools that didn’t already have a track record of sending students to Dartmouth.

Colleges Are Backing Off SAT, ACT Scores — But The Exams Will Be Hard To Shake

The Dartmouth study challenges the long-standing criticism that standardized tests, like the ACT and the College Board’s SAT, hurt students from marginalized backgrounds when it comes to admissions.

Multiple studies have found a correlation between higher test scores and higher income. And in the high school class of 2020, Black and Latino students scored lower than white and Asian students on the math section of the SAT, according to the Brookings Institution.

A years-long movement to get rid of test requirements gained critical momentum when the pandemic hit and complicated students’ ability to take the exams.

“The wave of test optional becomes a kind of tsunami,” says Harry Feder, executive director of FairTest, an advocacy organization that tracks test optional policies at colleges.

According to FairTest, more than 1,900 U.S. colleges and universities are currently “test optional,” meaning students can decide whether they want to submit their standardized test scores with their applications.

One of the largest public systems in the country, California State University, removed standardized testing from their admissions requirements in 2022.

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