Worcester State University drops SAT, ACT requirement
In the announcement, the university said it will be going "test optional" beginning in the fall 2018 application period.
"Worcester State University seeks the fairest, most outcome-oriented process for admitting students," he said in a separate statement Friday. "Our research shows that SAT or ACT scores are far down the list of factors that predict whether or not a student will succeed. We, therefore, have decided to consider students who do not submit those scores for admission."
Specifically, Mr. Forsythe said the university's analysis of its admissions found that the requirement to submit test scores was excluding many students, especially those from backgrounds not traditionally represented well on college campuses, who otherwise had a promising academic profile.
Mr. Forsythe said the new policy is the result of several months of research and input from campus members. The success of similar policy changes at other public universities in the state, like UMass Lowell and Salem State University, was also a factor.
"They did see a diversification of their applicant pool, as well as indicators of academic success that were not completely reliant on SAT or ACT scores," Mr. Forsythe said.
"We believe this policy will support Worcester State's mission of providing access to a high-quality, affordable education to a greater number of students," Worcester State Admissions Director Joseph DiCarlo said in a statement.
According to the university, more than 50 percent of its first-year students this past fall were first-generation college students, whom research indicates may be disadvantaged by a test bias that helps students from more privileged backgrounds.
Under the new rule, students may choose to submit a score, but won't be automatically passed over if they don't. The policy change doesn't apply in some cases, however, including for applicants to the university's nursing and occupational studies programs, international and English as a Second Language students, and home-schoolers, all of whom must still submit a test result.
All students, meanwhile, will continue to be evaluated by the university based on other metrics, including their high school GPA and high school transcript.
While SAT and ACT scores have become a prominent tool used by some organizations and publications to evaluate colleges, Mr. Forsythe said Worcester State isn't worried about how its new admissions policy will affect its reputation.
"We don't place much emphasis on rankings," he said.