Students walk through the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
COVID-19 pandemic has limited students’ access to testing centers
SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah will not require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores for fall 2021 admission under a two-year pilot program announced Thursday.
Steve Robinson, the U.’s senior associate vice president for enrollment management, said the COVID-19 pandemic has limited high school students’ access to testing centers. Even as testing has resumed, there has been reduced capacity resulting in backlogs of students who want to take the tests.
“So we’re seeing student anxiety really spike, that students are worried that they would be able to get access to the examinations themselves in time to meet deadlines for applications for fall of ’21. As we looked at that we wanted to make sure that we could ensure access to the University of Utah’s admissions process for all students,” Robinson said.
The U. joins some 1,240 four-year colleges and universities nationally that will not require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores for fall 2021 admission, according to the National Center for Fair & Open Testing also known as FairTest.
“Our goal is always to make applying to the U. as accessible as possible. We know students may be having a difficult time taking the standardized tests due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and even before that, we were looking at this as a way to decrease some of the costs and complexities associated with applying to the U.,” said Robinson in a statement.
Some applicants will still need to submit their scores such as students who do not earn a GPA that is comparable to other high school students, such as students who have GEDs or or attended a nonaccredited high school.
Robinson said the U. has long had a holistic review process for applications “where we try to make sure we weren’t too wedded to the numbers solely. GPA and the test scores have historically been very important for our admissions process but not the sole determinants. We’ve always looked at things like a student’s extracurricular activities, their personal statement and things they want us to know about them as people when they apply, as well as anything else that might be in their file,” he said.
Also, students seeking direct admission to select programs or who are applying for merit scholarships will need to submit test scores. However, deadlines for those required to submit test scores will likely be pushed back due to limited testing opportunities during the pandemic.
Robinson said student safety and accessibility are top of mind for instituting the pilot.
“We will be implementing new methods and technology over the next two years to ensure the admissions process remains comprehensive despite no longer receiving standardized test scores, and we look forward to the results of the pilot to determine whether this may be a permanent change for the U.,” he said.
Between 15,000 and 17,000 Utah …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Utah News