IB and TOEFL May Replace SAT/ACT

Check out this recent “College Inc,” a blog by Daniel de Vise of The Washington Post: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/college-inc/2010/06/colorado_college_will_accept_a.html

Colorado College, one of the most selective liberal arts schools, announced Monday it would adopt an “alternate” testing policy that allows applicants to submit Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate scores in place of the SAT or ACT.

It’s significant because most top colleges require either SAT or ACT scores as a tool in what is, for them, a difficult sorting process involving thousands of applicants. SAT scores mean the same thing everywhere. Other items on an application — letter grades, grade-point average and such — vary from high school to high school.

A publicist said the new rules do not mean Colorado College is going “test-optional.” That term refers to a movement, encouraged by the advocacy group FairTest, toward colleges de-emphasizing SAT and ACT scores by not requiring them. The list includes Bard, Bates and Bennington colleges — that’s just through letter B — and a number of other estimable schools. If Colorado College were added to that list, it would rank among the most selective colleges not to require the SAT or ACT.

I suppose FairTest may claim Colorado College as one of its converts: by the advocacy group’s definition, a test-optional school is one that admits “substantial numbers” of students without using ACT or SAT scores.

According to the new policy, Colorado College will add a third option to the traditional ACT/SAT requirement. Instead of those tests, students may submit three exams of the applicant’s choosing from a list of “acceptable SAT or ACT sub scores, SAT II Subject tests, AP or IB exams, or the TOEFL test for international students.”

The three picks must include at least one math test and one verbal or writing test.

School officials say the reason for the change is to broaden the diversity of its applicant pool. The population of AP and IB test-takers is exploding, and it includes significant numbers of underrepresented minorities, immigrants and first-generation college applicants.

“This new policy encourages applications from a wider range of high-school students,” said Michael Grace, chairman of the college’s Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid.

Colorado College ranks 24th among all liberal arts colleges in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, with an admission rate of 26 percent.

Although the change in policy is aimed at all Colorado College applicants, it may be especially helpful to international students who are more likely to have International Baccaulaureate and TOEFL results than SAT or ACT scores.

Be on the look-out, too, for other colleges that may be changing their testing requirements to stay in step with their “competition.”