Lawmakers push to make ACT, SAT required for public universities

More than 1,800 colleges have made tests optional
Tenn. capitol
Posted at 4:29 AM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 08:27:29-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A new bill could make submitting college test scores a requirement once again if you're applying to a public university in Tennessee.

It comes as more than 1,800 colleges nationwide have dropped the requirement.

Some lawmakers are worried if schools keep the test requirement, students will not apply. In turn, college admissions would suffer so they're wanting to level the playing field.

The bill would make four-year public universities require the SAT, ACT or other college readiness exams for those applying as freshmen. Lawmakers claim it has been in place to measure the success of students for many years and should not be optional.

Some said it could cause disadvantages for recruiting athletes and bringing in students from out of state.

The College Board has felt increasing pressure to change its test in the wake of the pandemic, which is why hundreds of schools have made it optional in the past few years.

There have also been questions around the test's fairness and relevance, especially for its bias against those from poor households as well as Black and Hispanic students.

Senator Brian Kelsey, R - Germantown, said it has been a priority to make sure students emerge from the public education system college-ready and that it's important to return to expectations that were required pre-pandemic.

"If you take a look at what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic, obviously many students couldn't sit for these tests so certain campuses did away with it for a year and that was understandable," said Sen. Kelsey. "But, we have had a university as well that has taken a position, quite frankly, to take advantage of that tragic situation and try to extend that policy for furthering different goals, and that is what this bill would ensure does not take place. It would return us to where we were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic."

If the bill passes, the tests would be required starting in the 2023-2024 school year.

It's on the state senate's calendar for Thursday.