The Ivy Coach Daily

October 29, 2020

Students Poke Holes in Test-Optional Policies

When two high school seniors can so easily poke holes in the notion that students who don’t submit test scores are at no disadvantage under “test-optional” admissions policies, it’s pretty clear the notion doesn’t pass the sniff test. And that’s precisely what went down in a recent article of The Yale Daily News by Amelia Davidson entitled “Yale prepares for first test-optional admissions cycle.” In the piece, Bob Schaeffer, the executive director of FairTest, an organization that is committed to ending the consideration of standardized testing in admissions, makes the tired argument that colleges being “test-optional” this year is a great thing. But the truth is that “test-optional” means diddly squat and until these universities usher in test-blind policies, Schaeffer is essentially congratulating himself for achieving nothing at all. An applicant doesn’t technically need an SAT or ACT score to apply to Yale. Ok, Bob. An applicant doesn’t technically need to get above B grades to apply to Yale. An applicant doesn’t technically need to be liked by their teachers and counselor to apply to Yale. But that doesn’t mean they’ll get in. Oh Bob!

Students Voice Skepticism About “Test-Optional” Policies

But let’s allow a high school senior quoted in Yale’s newspaper to dissect Bob’s stale, self-serving argument that students with no scores face no disadvantage in the admissions process when they’re up against students who submit great scores under “test-optional” policies. As Davidson reports, “The Yale admissions office states on its website and on the application itself that students are not disadvantaged by omitting test scores. But two high school seniors interviewed by the News expressed doubt as to whether that claim was really true. Sophia Miller, a high school senior from Maryland, told the News that she views the test-optional policy as mostly being applicable to students from low-income or rural areas who did not have access to testing…Miller is submitting scores along with her application and she said that everyone in her grade she has talked to is doing so as well. ’I think for people who live in nicer areas and who were able to take the test, I don’t think it’s truly test optional,’ Miller said. ’I just think that they said test optional, because there are people in lower-income areas who are unable to take the test. If you took a test and aren’t submitting the score, that puts us at sort of an unfair advantage…so I do think that there is some acknowledgement that if you took a test you should be submitting it.’”

Executive Director of FairTest Doesn’t Like When People Poke Holes in His Life’s Work

And what’s Bob’s answer to this skepticism, to getting schooled by high school seniors? Based on his responses to these criticisms in the press and on NACAC listserv emails, the self-righteous man simply doesn’t have one. It’s why he flails and instead tries to launch personal attacks. It’s all smoke and mirrors. How dare a student question the merits of “test-optional” policies. How dare a student question his life’s work (the pandemic achieved in just a few short weeks what he failed for so long to achieve). How dare a student use her brain to voice skepticism about “test-optional” policies. Oh we can feel Bob getting mad now. We can sense him turning red. Oh Bob. Bob, Bob, Bob. Perhaps it’ll be therapeutic to send an email to the entire NACAC listserv applauding another school that has decided to go test-optional. Because everyone just so looks forward to receiving those emails. They’re not the least bit annoying. Oh Bob.

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