Test Optional Research – Longitudinal Study

Abstract:   This study examines the outcomes of optional standardized testing policies in the Admissions offices at 33 public and private colleges and universities, based on cumulative GPA and graduation rates. The study also examines which students are more likely to make use of an optional testing policy, and how optional testing policies can offer important enrollment and financial planning benefits. Four cohorts of institutions are examined: twenty private colleges and universities, six public universities, five minority- serving institutions and two arts institutions, with a total of just under 123,000 student and alumni records. Few significant differences between submitters and non-submitters of testing were observed in Cumulative GPAs and graduation rates, despite significant differences in SAT/ACT scores. Optional testing policies also help build broader access to higher education: non-submitters are more likely to be first-generation-to-college students, minorities, Pell Grant recipients, women and students with Learning Differences.