On Dec. 6, 2019, the IU Board of Trustees approved a policy change allowing IU campuses the option to approve a test-optional admissions policy that would go into effect for incoming students during the fall 2021 semester.
With the test-optional policy passed by IU-Bloomington going into effect on Aug. 1, students applying to the university will have the choice whether or not to submit standardized test scores such as the SAT or ACT.
Each campus was provided the option to adopt a test-optional policy. The IUS Faculty Senate will vote on the revised admissions policy submitted by the Faculty Senate Recruitment and Retention Committee this month.
“The plan is to vote on it but it could always be tabled or sent back to committee if people aren’t happy with it,” Faculty Senate President and Professor of Political Science Joe Wert said. “But I fully expect it to be voted on.”
According to a statement provided by Amanda Stonecipher, the vice chancellor for enrollment management and student affairs, IU Southeast is considering adopting the test-optional policy due to research showing that GPAs are a stronger predictor of academic success than standardized tests.
“There are students who perhaps do very well in classes but do not take standardized tests very well,” Wert said. “Their scores may be much lower than would be indicative of their potential performance in classes and so they might have a better chance of getting accepted into IUS.”
If a similar policy were to pass at IU Southeast, Wert said this could not only academically benefit students, but it could be a cost effective change as well.
Wert also stated that since IU Southeast is opening up the admissions process to additional applicants, the university may get some students who are good students but may have faced struggles such as not being able to afford to take the test or not scoring well on standardized tests.
According to Alan Zollman, professor of secondary education in mathematics, another benefit is that it could provide a more equal opportunity for all applicants.
“We want to level the playing field and give the opportunity to attend our university to everyone,” Zollman said. “Some students may now take the opportunity to attend a course or two to see if IU Southeast is a good fit for their career goals.”
Sophomore psychology major Annabelle Hurst said this could be the right direction for the university to go in, but others might still prefer the traditional process.
“It could be easier for a student who doesn’t like taking tests as much. It could be better for them but for other students it might be better for them to have that test option,” she said. “If they want to [take the test] then they should be able to, but if not then they should have that option of not having to take it to get into a school.”
Since the announcement of the policy change, IU-Bloomington, IU-Purdue University Indianapolis, IU Fort Wayne and IU-Purdue University Columbus and IU Kokomo have all passed a test-optional admissions policies that will take effect in the future. IU Northwest, IU South Bend, IU East and IU Southeast are the remaining IU campuses who have pending decisions on the policy.
While the proposed policy at IU Southeast would give applicants the option to either take the test or not, Wert said some applicants might be inconvenienced when applying for scholarships.
“There are potentially some scholarships that require an ACT or SAT score that students may find that they can’t apply for or they’d have to go back and take those tests in order to be considered for them,” he said. “I don’t believe those are very big in number though.”
The IUS Faculty Senate will hear and vote on the proposed policy on Feb. 20 at 2:45 p.m. in University Center North room 127.