Bill would make Colorado’s test-optional policies permanent

by Jeremy

Dive Brief:

  • Two Colorado state lawmakers plan to introduce a bill removing a requirement that public colleges there use a national assessment test score, such as from the ACT or SAT, as an admissions criteria, according to the office of one of the bill’s sponsors.
  • The lawmakers said making the scores optional would improve access to higher education, while critics felt it would eliminate a vital college readiness standard, Chalkbeat reported. State institutions largely support the measure, the publication noted.
  • Many colleges put a moratorium on their requirement that applicants submit test scores in light of the pandemic. But more significant moves by key states stand to make a longer-lasting impact.

Dive Insight:

Colorado is one of only a few states where lawmakers have a say in admissions testing requirements. In other states, they are decided by politically appointed higher education oversight groups or institutional levels. Angel Pérez, CEO of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, said he wasn’t expecting the proposal to happen quickly, though the group supports the measure. He noted that other states could follow Colorado’s lead. However, he said lobbying efforts would likely focus on the individual institutions in states where schools decide the policy for themselves.

Bill would make Colorado’s test-optional policies permanent

NACAC encouraged public colleges to make tests optional for the current admissions cycle and urged all schools to clarify to students that they will not be penalized for not submitting scores. NACAC also asked colleges to reexamine how they use the tests to ensure they are doing so equitably. The Colorado bill would permanently expand a temporary measure the state’s legislature passed this summer that gave public colleges the option to waive the test score requirement for applicants who graduated from high school in 2021. It would also require schools to report data to the state on their applicants for ten years, draft text states. The bill is expected to be introduced in mid-February.

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