Enrollment Management > Test-Optional > Why Test-Optional?
Against a backdrop of national discussions concerning appropriate use of standardized tests in college admission, DePaul University adopted a test-optional pilot for freshman admission starting with applicants to the 2012 entering class. DePaul is one of the largest private, not-for-profit universities to implement a process that does not require the submission of any standardized test scores for admission. This change was unanimously approved by the DePaul University Faculty Council on Feb. 9, 2011.
DePaul University views student capabilities as more complex than those measured by standardized tests, and student success as more than first-year grades. For many students, indicators other than test scores allow better insight into student capabilities (and along different dimensions) and likelihood of success not only in the first year but over the entirety of the collegiate career.
Moreover, standardized test scores are strongly correlated with income, and scores vary dramatically across ethnic groups, raising questions about their fairness to all members of society. The prevalence of the ''test preparation industry'' and the ability of wealthier students to take standardized tests repeatedly contributes to the debate about equity. This debate rages on while students and parents find themselves caught up in anxiety over testing and college admission that serves no one well.
This is not a blanket dismissal of the value of standardized testing; standardized tests may be helpful for institutions that deny far more applications for admission than they accept, adding an additional criterion to draw distinctions between large numbers of students whose academic performance is compressed at the top of the curve. However, a disproportionate reliance on standardized test scores may cause many colleges to overlook applications from motivated, high-achieving students who may have a great deal to offer colleges, but who—for whatever reason—don't perform well on standardized tests.