The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced it will once again require applicants to take the SAT or ACT, reversing a Covid-era policy that made the standardized tests optional and rejecting the idea that the tests hurt diversity.
“Our research shows standardized tests help us better assess the academic preparedness of all applicants, and also help us identify socioeconomically disadvantaged students who lack access to advanced coursework or other enrichment opportunities that would otherwise demonstrate their readiness for MIT,” Dean of Admissions Stu Schmill wrote in a blog post Monday.
“We believe a requirement is more equitable and transparent than a test-optional policy.”
The requirement applies to those hoping to enter the Cambridge, Massachusetts, university in 2023.
The decision comes after a number of elite universities, including MIT, did away with the test requirements in 2020 and 2021 due to disruptions caused by the pandemic. The entirety of the Ivy League and the University of California system were among the more than 1,800 colleges and universities that dropped testing requirements for students entering in fall 2022, according to the non-profit advocacy group National Center for Fair & Open Testing, or FairTest.
The SAT and ACT tests have long been criticized for bias against those from poor households as well as Black and Hispanic students. The high-stakes nature of the tests means that those with more resources can afford to take expensive test prep courses — or even, as the 2019 college admissions scam revealed, to cheat.
Bob Schaeffer, the executive director of FairTest, said in a statement in December that the test-optional policy had proved its effectiveness.