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#TestOptionalNOW: Calling on Colleges to Adopt Test-Optional Policies

Student Voice launches the #TestOptionalNOW campaign to call on colleges and universities to adopt test-optional admissions policies in response to COVID-19.

Press Release
March 23, 2020


March 23, 2020

NORTH CAROLINA — Student Voice, alongside a coalition of student-led organizations committed to equity in education, is calling on colleges and universities across the country to take immediate action to build a more equitable admissions process in light of COVID-19 by eliminating standardized testing requirements and adopting test-optional policies for all applicants to their institution during the 2020-2021 admissions cycle.

Chris Suggs, CEO of Kinston Teens and a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill said, “This pandemic crisis has and will continue to have a disproportionate impact on students of color, first-generation and low-income students, and other already marginalized groups. These students are already dealing with so much, the last thing they need to be worried about is a test that systematically disadvantages them.  We’re calling on our institutions to move toward more equitable ways to measure student success this admissions cycle.”

Maodan Tohouri, a junior at Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, California said, “The college admissions process has always been daunting. With the cancellations of the SAT, the feeling of anxiety is amplified. My friends and peers are trying to represent ourselves in the best light but during this time some students will have to jump over more hurdles to do that”.

Emanuelle Sippy, Co-director of the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team and a junior at Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Kentucky said, “There are a myriad of ways in which these examinations exacerbate the inequities that students with the least support face. Institutions of higher education have an opportunity to enact policies that are somewhat equalizing. If they don’t they will have made a clear choice to prioritize metrics that directly correlate achievement with privilege rather than recognize the majority of students juggling immense obligations in this moment.”

Merrit Jones, President of Student Voice and a Junior at UNC-Chapel Hill said, “with college decision week impending we’ve heard from both students and educators about how COVID-19 is bringing test anxiety to a new level as students look to an uncertain future and we want to ensure standardized testing is the least of student worries during the pandemic.”

Specifically, we call on colleges and universities to:

  • Eliminate standardized testing requirements and adopt test-optional application policies for all applicants to their institution during the 2020-2021 admissions cycle.
  • Announce their intention to discontinue standardized testing requirements for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle as soon as possible to mitigate future applicants’ concerns about meeting testing requirements.
  • Reflect on the value of standardized assessments in the college admissions process and the implications testing requirements have on equitable access to the college application process.

We invite students, parents and those committed to equity in education to stand in solidarity with the #TestOptionalNow campaign by signing this petition to show their support and receive updates on how to get involved.

Our COVID-19 Response: 
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Student Voice is committed to addressing the educational inequity exacerbated by this health crisis through rapid response advocacy campaigns and digital organizing. We will provide critical community space among social distancing, educate young people on the relationship between systemic injustice and the contemporary education system and help student organizers base build through coalition work for long-term, substantive action beyond this health crisis. Our COVID-19 response can be tracked at

About Student Voice

Student Voice is a by-students, for-students 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works in all 50 states to equip students as storytellers, organizers and institutional partners who advocate for student-driven solutions to educational inequity. Through direct civic action, Student Voice helps students hold their schools and surrounding communities accountable to the Student Bill of Rights and prepares them to become lifelong agents of social and political change. For more information about Student Voice, visit our website at and follow @Stu_Voice and #StuVoice on social media.

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