Dartmouth College will again require prospective students to submit standardized test scores beginning with the undergraduate class of 2029, resuming a policy halted for years because of the pandemic, the university announced Monday.
Officials at the Ivy League institution in Hanover, New Hampshire, said in a statement it became a “test-optional” school in June 2020, as a response to “an unprecedented global pandemic.”
“Nearly four years later, having studied the role of testing in our admissions process as well as its value as a predictor of student success at Dartmouth, we are removing the extended pause and reactivating the standardized testing requirement for undergraduate admission, effective with the Class of 2029,” Dartmouth said.
The university said it believes reinstating the testing requirement will improve its “ability to bring the most promising and diverse students to our campus.”
Being a “test-optional” school meant prospective students could still submit their test scores, such as from the SAT or ACT, if they chose to.
A study commissioned by Dartmouth President Sian Beilock and conducted by university economists and an educational sociologist, found that standardized test scores, when evaluated alongside high school grades, were “the most reliable indicators for success in Dartmouth’s course of study,” the university statement said.
The study also found analyzing standardized test stores helped identify high-achieving applicants from low, and middle-income backgrounds, the statement said.
Relying on standardized test scores in admission decisions has long been criticized for favoring favor wealthy, white applicants, and putting minority and low-income students at a disadvantage.
“Contrary to what some have perceived, standardized testing allows us to admit a broader and more diverse range of students,” Dartmouth said.
In March 2022, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, commonly known as MIT, said it was reinstating test-score requirements, in an effort to be “transparent and equitable in our expectations.”
Columbia University in New York City announced in March that prospective students won’t be required to submit ACT or SAT scores. The university is believed to be the first Ivy League school to adopt the policy on a long-term basis, according to NBC New York.