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By Jason Gonzales, Chalkbeat Colorado
Students would no longer be required to take the SAT or ACT when applying to Colorado’s public colleges under proposed legislation that aims to make higher education more accessible to low-income and first-generation college applicants who often don’t do as well on standardized tests.
State Rep. Cathy Kipp and state Sen. Tammy Story, both Democrats, plan to introduce legislation when the chambers are back in session that would allow public colleges and universities to make the move to test-optional admissions. Students could still submit scores if they chose.
Lawmakers made tests optional for 2021 high school graduates applying to Colorado schools. The coronavirus caused disruptions across the state in accessing the SAT, and state officials waived requirements that schools offer the test. The proposed legislation would make that change permanent.
Allowing test-optional admissions, Kipp said, would increase first-time, low-income, and other underrepresented college-goers at the state’s higher education institutions, most of which endorse the change.
“What we’ve learned is that the test scores are not even a very good indicator of whether kids will be successful in college,” Kipp said. ”So why are we putting this barrier in front of colleges and universities who want to get these kids in who have the potential to be successful?”
But critics of the plan are skeptical that it will do much to level the playing field in college admissions. They say entrance exams provide a standard measure by which colleges can judge readiness among students.