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College Revives Standardized Test Requirement

Dartmouth College plans to reinstate the standardized test requirement for applicants to the Class of 2029 and beyond, reports The Dartmouth.

Lee CoffinLee CoffinThe announcement was made via campus-wide email from Dartmouth President Dr. Sian Leah Beilock.

Dartmouth applicants will be required to take and submit scores from the SAT or ACT college entrance exams. The college adopted a test-optional policy for applicants to the Classes of 2025, 2026, and 2027 and a test-recommended policy for applicants to the Class of 2028 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Lee Coffin, the college’s vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid.

Dartmouth’s admissions webpage reads: “Our bottom line is simple: we believe a standardized testing requirement will improve — not detract from — our ability to bring the most promising and diverse students to our campus.”

Coffin said in an interview with The Dartmouth that the reactivation of Dartmouth’s test-required policy was “modeled on a very comprehensive research study by a group of faculty” members comprising economics professors Dr. Elizabeth Cascio, Dr. Bruce Sacerdote, Dr. Douglas Staiger and sociology professor Dr. Michele Tine.

The college plans to pair the restoration of required testing with a reimagined way of reporting testing outcomes in ways, such as describing scores locally, that are more understandable for students, families, and college counselors. For example, when testing was submitted as part of its early decision round for the Class of 2028, 94% of the accepted students who shared testing scored at or above the 75th percentile of test-takers at their respective high school.

“As we reactivate our required testing policy, contextualized testing will be one factor — but never the primary factor — among the many quantitative and qualitative elements of our application,” the webpage reads. “As always, the whole person counts, as do the environmental factors each person navigates. And, as always, we will evaluate and reframe Dartmouth's undergraduate admission requirements as the data and the evidence informs us.”

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