Did Dartmouth researchers find that a test optional policy reduced its admission of disadvantaged students?

By ·June 4, 2024


A 2024 study found Dartmouth’s test-optional policy reduced admissions of disadvantaged students because it removed a common metric that could be considered in the context of the students’ backgrounds. Dartmouth changes the threshold of a “good” score depending on the socioeconomic status of the applicant. A disproportionate number of disadvantaged students with SAT scores below the school’s average did not submit scores that would have increased their chance of admission. Dartmouth, and other colleges, have since reversed their policy and currently require SAT/ACT scores. But these results do not necessarily hold for other colleges; the American Educational Research Association found test-optional policies increased diversity of enrollment at 100 private universities. Zachary Bleemer (Princeton) found an increase in disadvantaged students’ admissions in the UC system through adopting a program that admitted high-GPA students, disregarding low-SAT scores.

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