The End of the SAT

Educators have long known that what SAT scores most reliably tell us is the family income of the testtakers and that every hour spent on test prep for the SAT is an hour away from helping students to grow as learners and thinkers. So we celebrate the precipitous decline of the SAT.

In the late 1980’s, fewer than three dozen colleges and universities did not require SAT or ACT scores from their applicants. Today, 1700 colleges and universities are not requiring SAT or ACT scores from applicants. Alleluia!

Below is a press release from FAIR TEST, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing:

For immediate release Thursday, September 9, 2021


An updated list of ACT/SAT-optional and test-blind schools released today by the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) shows that more than 1,700 colleges and universities will not require admissions exam scores from applicants seeking to enroll in fall 2022 applicants. That is more than 73% of all U.S. bachelor-degree granting institutions.

“Test-optional and test-blind policies are the new normal in higher education admissions,” FairTest Executive Director Bob Schaeffer explained. “The vast majority of four-year institutions, including nearly all of the nation’s most-selective schools, no longer rely on ACT/SAT scores to evaluate applicants.”

“A big question is whether the 2022 U.S. News “Best Colleges” guide will reflect this new reality,” Schaeffer continued. That publication will be released on Monday, September 13. Last year’s U.S. News guide was the first to include institutions with test-blind or score-free admissions policies. According to FairTest’s new tally, 84 schools are now in that category

In recent years, U.S. News has punished ACT/SAT-optional schools by reducing the scores used to calculate rankings. “Because of arbitrary policies like this, FairTest was an initial signer of a petition calling on U.S. News to eliminate any use of test scores in its rankings,” Schaeffer added.  “We are watching closely to see whether this upcoming U.S. News guide continues this unjustified, punitive policy.” The Fiske Guide to Colleges, the best-selling admissions handbook, recently announced that it will no longer include test scores in its annual school profiles.

FairTest has been the leader of the U.S. test-optional admissions movement since the late 1980s when the non-profit organization published a report titled “Beyond Standardized Tests: Admissions Alternatives that Work.”  At that time, fewer than three dozen colleges and universities did not mandate ACT or SAT score submission from applicants.

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–  FairTest’s frequently updated directory of test-optional, 4-year schools is available free online at — sort geographically by clicking on “State”.

–   A chronology of schools dropping ACT/SAT requirements with details about the duration of those policies is at:

–  A sub-list of 84 campuses with test-blind, score-free or test-free policies (ACT/SAT results not considered if submitted):

2 thoughts on “The End of the SAT

  1. While I am happy that the SAT/ACT is on its way out, I am concerned with what needs to take its place and if that will happen in any kind of consistent way. Universities/colleges can’t really count on grades any more–it is well-established that grade inflation is alive and well. Even the rigor of courses is suspect what with everybody piling into AP and honors classes regardless of their ability–which, by the way, is a HUGE burden on the teacher because no one wants a kid to be drowning in class. Recommendations, especially sealed ones, are often not very truthful because the student and parents are seeing the recommendation (they usually have access to the sealed ones in the Guidance Department) and that too inflates the language. How about the student’s essay? Some schools don’t require it; others want only a small paragraph. Here is where a student can shine as long as the essay is honest because real writing is honest, and colleges have great crap detectors in their Admissions Office. How about a student’s portfolio of sorts, or a senior project? How about a simple reading test to find out the reading level? . . . I don’t know the answer. But there has to be one because doing nothing only shoves the problems to instructors of those first-year students.


    1. I agree a senior project would be excellent. A consortium of high schools in NYC offer that as their students”credential. Their college graduation rates for their students are superb. It works as a way to determine who is college-ready.


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