In response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the College Board has canceled the March and May administrations of the SAT and ACT has delayed the April administration of the ACT. As scientists predict that the effects of COVID-19 will continue in the months to come, further cancellations of these examinations are likely to follow. Because the SAT and ACT are required components of the majority of college applications, widespread cancellations will negatively impact current high school juniors as they apply to college in the coming year.
Colleges and universities must 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.
As the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates pre-existing inequities in college access, it is critical that urgent action is taken to ensure low-income, minority and other underrepresented student groups have equitable access to the admissions process. Already, evidence shows that race and income impact performance on standardized tests, and COVID-19 will only exacerbate these inequities.
COVID-19 poses both known and unknown obstacles to underrepresented students’ ability to prepare for and perform on standardized tests. For example, many low-income students lack access to broadband internet, meaning they cannot access remote test preparation resources.
Additionally, because of school closures, students living in the states that administer free universal SAT or ACT testing during school in the spring cannot participate in the state-issued assessment to complete the necessary examinations to apply for college. This disproportionately impacts students who rely on free standardized testing from their schools.
We call on all 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, including joining us on Sunday, March 29 at 5:30 p.m. EST for a convening call.
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 StuVoice.org/COVID-19.
About Student Voice
Student Voice is the nation’s largest by-students, for-students 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization inspired by the premise that education should work for all students. We believe that every student deserves quality civic education—and a direct platform to impact decisions that affect their lives. Through action-based civics programs, Student Voice leads and strengthens the movement of young people taking action on issues that most impact their education. For more information about Student Voice and joining the student voice movement, visit our website at StuVoice.org and follow @Stu_Voice and #StuVoice on social media.