The Ivy Coach Daily

February 21, 2022

A Test-Optional Study

The Gates Foundation has awarded a grant to examine test-optional admissions policies (photo credit: Adbar).

The Gates Foundation has awarded a $1.4 million grant to a University of Maryland-led study that will examine the impact of America’s colleges going SAT/ACT-optional in admissions as well as their potential elimination down the road. The study’s authors, who say the study will likely take two years as they use Natural Language Processing to evaluate college applications and discern patterns of inequities in decision-making, will eventually put forward admissions recommendations to advance the cause of equity.

As The Maryland Today Staff report in a piece for Maryland Today entitled “$1.4M Gates Foundation Award to Study National Effect of Test-Optional Admissions,” “Associate Professor of Education Julie J. Park and colleagues will examine whether higher education institutions’ swift moves to alter their admissions processes in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic improved college access or equity for different student populations…’This study is very timely, and has key implications for society and inequality,’ Park said. ’Test-optional policies are becoming more common; however there needs to be more research and data to inform decision-making. There also needs to be more research on how inequality affects other parts of the college application.’”

And while the study sounds fancy with the NLP data analysis and all, we can’t help but think, “The Gates Foundation awarded $1.4 million to find out that the SAT and ACT aren’t all that equitable? Couldn’t this money have instead been earmarked for offering vaccines in developing nations?” It all seems a bit ridiculous if you ask us. We get it. The SAT and ACT aren’t equitable — and they never have been. We could have saved The Gates Foundation all this cash! Oy vey.

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