News

All Oregon public universities to no longer require standardized admissions tests
Author: Steve Clark
Posted: March 26, 2020

Oregon’s seven public comprehensive universities and Oregon Health & Science University announced
jointly today that none will require freshman applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores to be considered
for admission, starting with fall term 2021.

Going forward, undergraduate students applying to any of Oregon’s public universities will have the
option — rather than the requirement — of submitting standardized test scores with their application for
admission.

Across the nation, more than 1,000 four-year universities and colleges, including almost 400 top-tier four-
year
universities and colleges, have either abandoned standardized testing altogether or now provide
students the option to take such tests. These changes follow decades of research regarding the
contribution of standardized admissions tests in accurately predicting a student’s academic success once
in college.

Test-optional policies nationwide allow students to determine whether a standardized test score is
reflective of their academic accomplishments and ability.

The change benefits students applying to Eastern Oregon University, Portland State University, Oregon
State University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Southern Oregon University, the University of Oregon
and Western Oregon University, and applicants applying to undergraduate nursing programs offered by
OHSU. EOU, WOU, Oregon Tech, SOU and OHSU had previously allowed students the option of not
submitting test results. Oregon State University, Portland State University and the University of Oregon
officially joined the other five Oregon institutions today following broad consultations with faculty and
stakeholders.

“As public universities, it is our duty to serve a broad cross-section of society and to provide access to
educational opportunities for all academically accomplished learners,” said Neil Woolf, vice president of
enrollment management and student affairs at Southern Oregon University in Ashland.

Woolf said national studies have demonstrated for years that the single most accurate predictor of
academic success in college is a student’s high school GPA.

“Standardized tests add very little to our ability to predict an individual student’s success at a university
or college,” said Jon Boeckenstedt, vice provost for enrollment management at Oregon State University,
noting that evidence also exists that standardized test results might not be inclusive.

“I have seen clear patterns that — when weighted heavily in the admissions process — standardized tests
provide admissions advantages to students who are already advantaged, including students from higher-income families,” said Boeckenstedt. “Some believe standardized test scores are merely a reflection of
accumulated social capital, rather than an objective measure of a student’s academic ability or potential.”

“Students who believe their test scores are indicative of their ability or talent are welcome to submit
scores, just as they are welcome to submit any supplemental information,” said Jim Rawlins, director of
admissions and assistant vice president for enrollment management at the University of Oregon.
“Students who choose not to submit an SAT or ACT will be evaluated on the strength of their high school
academic program and other materials in the application.”

“We are excited that all the public universities in Oregon are moving to test-optional admission
applications, said Gary Dukes, vice president for student affairs at Western Oregon University in
Monmouth. “Research has shown that test scores are not the best predictor of college success and this will
provide access to more students who might not have otherwise been admitted.”

Chuck Knepfle, vice president of enrollment management at Portland State University, said the
universities’ decision to allow students applying for admission the option to provide standardized test
results are in keeping with the reason Oregon’s public universities were founded.

“We were founded — and exist today — to serve learner needs,” Knepfle said. “We believe that by
establishing the national precedent of a state-wide commitment to move to test-optional, we are moving
Oregon forward toward its 40-40-20 educational attainment goal."

Boeckenstedt said allowing students the option of providing standardized test results comes at an
important time.

“In light of the uncertainty occurring in Oregon and globally around COVID-19, we hope Oregon
universities’ decision to allow students to choose to not provide standardized tests results relieves some of
the stress being felt by learners and their families during these very challenging times.”

Additional information on Oregon’s public universities choosing to become test-optional in undergraduate
admissions can be found on the admissions office website of each university.