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Dartmouth College Reinstates Standardized Testing Requirement: A Step Forward for Diversity and Inclusion

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Dr. Jessica Nelson
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Dartmouth College Reinstates Standardized Testing Requirement: A Step Forward for Diversity and Inclusion

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Dartmouth College: First Ivy League School to Reinstitute Standardized Testing

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In a significant move, Dartmouth College has become the first Ivy League school to reinstitute a standardized testing requirement for admissions. This decision marks a departure from the trend of test-optional admissions policies adopted by many colleges in recent years. The move was based on Dartmouth's belief that the standardized testing requirement will improve, rather than detract from, their ability to bring the most promising and diverse students to their campus.

Reactivation of the Standardized Testing Requirement

Dartmouth College has reactivated the standardized testing requirement for undergraduate admission effective with the Class of 2029. This decision was driven by a new research study that confirmed that high school grades paired with standardized testing are the most reliable indicators for success in Dartmouth's course of study. The study found that test scores represent an especially valuable tool to identify high achieving applicants from low and middle income backgrounds who are first generation college bound as well as students from urban and rural backgrounds.

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The Impact of Standardized Testing on Admissions and Student Success

The decision to return to standardized testing came after a study on the impact of testing on admissions and as a predictor of student success. The research found that SAT and ACT scores can be especially helpful in identifying students from less-resourced backgrounds who would succeed at Dartmouth. This finding challenges the long-standing critique that standardized testing inhibits rather than broadens college access.

A Holistic Review Process

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Despite the reinstatement of the standardized testing requirement, Dartmouth College continues to use a holistic review process. This process takes into account a variety of factors, including academic performance, extracurricular activities, and personal qualities. The admissions team evaluates test scores in the context of the applicant's high school, recognizing the level of advantage or lack of advantage both at the neighborhood and high school level.

Standardized Testing and Economic Diversity

The reinstatement of the testing requirement allows Dartmouth to use all of the data at their disposal, along with generous financial aid, to admit and support the broadest and most talented student body possible. Dartmouth has increased financial aid offerings to ensure that admitted students, regardless of their family's income, are able to matriculate. This decision is guided by social science research suggesting that standardized testing can improve the ability to identify students from a wide range of economic backgrounds who will succeed at Dartmouth.

Conclusion

The reinstatement of the standardized testing requirement at Dartmouth College is a significant move that reflects the institution's commitment to diversity and academic excellence. By considering standardized test scores as part of a comprehensive admissions process, Dartmouth aims to identify and support promising students from all backgrounds, ensuring a diverse and inclusive campus environment.

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