Washington’s public universities drop SAT, ACT requirement for admission

In a pandemic move made permanent, Washington’s five public four-year universities and Evergreen State College will no longer require the SAT or ACT for admission.

Beginning in fall 2021, the University of Washington, Washington State University, Western Washington University, Eastern Washington University, Central Washington University, and Evergreen State College will be “test optional” going forward.

Schools across the United States have recently been dropping the SAT and ACT tests as a requirement out of concern that the tests are not good indicators of college success, and because higher income students are more likely to have paid for extra SAT or ACT tutoring, which could put others at a disadvantage.

“The decision, in terms of reducing further barriers and strengthening our engagement with students in the admissions process had led to this decision,” said Dr. Julie Garver, senior director of policy and academic affairs with the state Council of Presidents.

“[The test score requirement] was potentially negatively impacting the college-going culture here in Washington,” she added.

This rule change is part of a growing trend to evaluate students on more than their academic abilities and consider things such as community service or special skills and accomplishments.

“What is the student doing in community service? What is their background? Really looking at the whole student,” Garver said.

Garver told KIRO Radio that college applicants can include their SAT and ACT test scores in their application, but there is no penalty for entry, honors programs, or scholarships if they don’t.

Evergreen State College and Eastern Washington University had already dropped standardized testing requirements. Many public schools in Oregon and California have adopted similar policies.

This story was originally published by MyNorthwest.