Wheelock Now Test-Optional

September 21, 2016

Joining a groundswell among higher education institutions across the United States, Wheelock College will no longer require SAT and ACT scores as part of its undergraduate admissions process, as of September 2016.

"We are confident that moving to a test-optional admissions policy is the right decision for Wheelock College, as it will address our core values of equity, access, quality, and diversity while allowing us to better predict and promote student success," said Wheelock President Dr. David Chard.

There is a growing body of research suggesting that standardized test performance is not a reliable predictor of college readiness, particularly for minority, low-income, and first-generation college students. Further, testing critics note that the tests present an economic barrier for many students and intensify the already anxiety-filled college admissions process.

To date, more than 850 colleges and universities—including more than 50 in the last year alone—have stopped using the SAT or ACT as a required part of their admissions process. Many report that their applicant pools and enrolled classes have increased and become more diverse without any loss of academic quality.

Wheelock's decision to move to test-optional admissions came after conducting its own study of the predictive power of the SAT in determining college success for students entering Wheelock from 2011-2015. Completed in August 2016, the Wheelock study looked at whether predictions of college success were more accurate when a student's SAT scores were considered. The study found that SATs-alone or combined with high school GPA-did not improve the accuracy of predictions of whether students would meet specific success outcomes, including a 2.5+ Wheelock GPA, graduating in four years, and first-to-second-year retention.

"One day of testing does not take into consideration a student's four years of high school work," said Wheelock Vice President of Student Success and Engagement Dr. Adrian K. Haugabrook. "Test-optional allows us to take a more holistic perspective of a student's potential to succeed."

Applicants to Wheelock may still submit standardized test scores if they choose, but there will be no penalty for not submitting scores. Instead, Wheelock's undergraduate admissions team will put greater emphases on a student's academic record, teacher recommendations, extracurricular and leadership activities, and service to the community. Wheelock will also stop using ACT or SAT scores in its formulas for awarding financial aid and scholarships, as well as for entry to the Honors program.

Visit Wheelock's Undergraduate Admissions web page.

Learn more about the test-optional movement at the National Center for Fair and Open Testing website.

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