There’s a silver-lining in the cloud of standardized testing for college-bound students who learn differently! As an educator with over 20 years of experience working throughout the country with students of all ages, I strongly embrace the opportunity to do away with inequitable standardized tests in the college admissions process. Read on to learn how the impacts of COVID-19 have upset this long-time standard practice that doesn’t serve Neurodiverse students!
College-bound students throughout the United States experienced an abrupt halt in their plans to take standardized tests in March of 2020. Due to the impacts of Covid-19, ACT and SAT tests were cancelled. Many public and private colleges responded to the ongoing pandemic by becoming “test optional (TO).” The complete list of TO schools continues to increase daily, currently including over two-thirds of all colleges in the U.S. As of February 4, 2021, it is reported that over 1,685 colleges do not require college-bound students to submit standardized test scores. If scores are reported, they might increase an applicant’s chances in getting an acceptance. To get the most up-to-date list of colleges that are TO, visit FairTest.org.
A few schools have also opted to go, “Test Blind (TB),” which means that even if a student submits a standardized test score, it will not be considered in the application process. In September of 2020, the University of California (UC) System was mandated by Judge Brad Seligman in the California state courts to become “Test Blind.” In a lawsuit against the UC system, attorneys argued that applicants with disabilities were denied access to the opportunity to augment their candidacy because they weren’t able to get the necessary testing accommodations needed for fair test administration during the COVID-19 pandemic.
About the Author
This article was written by April Miller, a Speech-Language Pathologist and Independent Educational Consultant who advocates for Neurodiverse Students. She is currently completing her Internship with Bass Educational Services, which is the final component in earning her College Counseling Certificate from UCLA. She will specialize in guiding Neurodiverse students through the college planning process.
Judy Bass, CEP and owner of Bass Educational Services is a member of an organization called, “The Character Collaborative,” which supports efforts to augment the value of character in the college admissions process, as it is more equitable than utilizing standardized test scores. The Character Collaborative exists because character is fundamental to an engaged life, the fullest consideration of human potential, and a humane society. Guided by this belief, they believe college admission officers should recognize and assess character in admission and signal its importance. They strive to develop a research-based framework and proven best practices for advancing the identification and consideration of character attributes in the admission process and in how we educate young people. For more information check out their website at: https://character-admission.org/