Settling the score with ACT and SAT: Testing and college enrollment in 2023
A student taking a multiple-choice test. Credit: Andy Barbour

Settling the score with ACT and SAT: Testing and college enrollment in 2023

At any point in a prospective student’s application process up until the COVID-19 outbreak, they have been required to contend with the placement test. For folks in Florida, the two historic heavyweights have been the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT) exams. However—in a post-COVID world—colleges continue to adopt test-optional policies, and have ushered in a new surge of applications.

During the week of Mar. 2, the Ivy League college Columbia University announced that they will be going test-optional indefinitely. While this trend began to emerge at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic as the circumstances of the pandemic made—and continue to make—standardized testing difficult to facilitate, its survival long after facemasks fell into the periphery suggests there are other trends accountable for such a shift.

As of March 2023, there are well over 1800 ACT/SAT-optional colleges in the United States. In spite of this, New College continues to require applicants to take either the SAT or ACT—another tradition that could very well be next up on the chopping block. In light of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s continued crusade against the College Board, it is entirely possible that the SAT could be abolished in Florida altogether—not just as a college application requirement, but as an education institution.

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