David Leonhardt of The New York Times tells his readers how, in a significant development, Dartmouth College, as of next year, will start requiring applicants to submit standardized test scores once again. Leonhardt tells us how other colleges may follow:
Dartmouth College announced this morning that it would again require applicants to submit standardized test scores, starting next year. It’s a significant development because other selective colleges are now deciding whether to do so. In today’s newsletter, I’ll tell you the story behind Dartmouth’s decision.
Training future leaders
Last summer, Sian Beilock — a cognitive scientist who had previously run Barnard College in New York — became the president of Dartmouth. After arriving, she asked a few Dartmouth professors to do an internal study on standardized tests. Like many other colleges during the Covid pandemic, Dartmouth dropped its requirement that applicants submit an SAT or ACT score. With the pandemic over and students again able to take the tests, Dartmouth’s admissions team was thinking about reinstating the requirement. Beilock wanted to know what the evidence showed. […]
And I asked Beilock and her colleagues whether fewer students might now apply to Dartmouth. Coffin, the admissions dean, replied that such an outcome might be OK. He noted that the test-optional policy since 2020 had not led to a more diverse pool of applicants and that Dartmouth already received more than enough applications — 31,000 this year, for 1,200 first-year slots. “I don’t think volume is the holy grail,” he said.
Finally, I asked Beilock whether she was satisfied with Dartmouth’s level of economic diversity, which is slightly below that of most similarly elite colleges. She said no. “We have aspirations to bring it up,” she said. Reinstating the test requirement, she believes, can help Dartmouth do so.
Read more here.