Marquette University joins other top universities in going test-optional
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Marquette University, a Jesuit school in Milwaukee, Wis., announced they will no longer require applicants to submit test scores from the SAT or the ACT for admission, joining a growing group of American colleges and universities moving away from using standardized tests to evaluate students.

The change, effective for students applying for entry in the fall of 2020, signals Marquette’s commitment to assessing students more holistically, taking all of a student’s accomplishments into account.

“Four years of strong performance in rigorous high school coursework has always been the most important measure in Marquette's holistic admission review,” acting Provost Kimo Ah Yun said in a Monday press release. “Requiring standardized tests was never intended to dissuade individuals from applying who felt they had the capacity to succeed here. We acknowledge, however, that requiring the SAT or ACT may have led to this unintended consequence and aim to address that now.”

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Marquette joins about 1,300 colleges and universities across the United States that have removed test requirements, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. Marquette is the 11th school ranked on U.S. News and World Reports 100 top colleges to become test-optional, and they are the ninth Jesuit institution to make the change.

Bryan Troyer, Marquette dean of undergraduate admissions, said his team is adopting the Jesuit value of cura personalis, or “care of the whole person.”

“Students can decide how to best represent their capacity for success at the college level. We believe students are who they are because of their life experiences, work ethic, and their engagement in and out of the classroom,” Troyer said in the press release.

A 2005 study from Bates College’s former Vice President William Hiss shows that standardized tests can discourage low-income students from applying to colleges, and the overall difference in GPAs at Bates between those who submitted scores and those who didn’t was negligible.

The change also comes as The College Board, the organization that administers the SAT, announced that they are planning to take their own holistic view of students with an “adversity score.” It will be a separate score from students’ test results that will indicate more than a dozen factors like the crime rate in a student’s neighborhood, their family’s median income and the rigor of their school’s curriculum.