By Rachel Williams, NACAC Communications

Baltimore, MD (September 21, 2023) Preliminary findings from research on the equity implications of test-optional admission policies show that many feel going test-optional is a positive change that can reduce barriers in the admission process, but greater investments and clarifications are needed to realize the full potential of such a change.

That’s according to a team from the University of Maryland, a research partner in the Equity Implications of Test-Optional Admission Policies initiative, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. NACAC is the convener of the initiative and brought together all the research partners on Sept. 20, 2023, ahead of NACAC Conference 2023 in Baltimore.

Other partners include the Equity Research Cooperative, Second Chance Educational Alliance/Prison-to-Professionals, Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit, and California State University, San Marcos. All partners presented their work and preliminary findings, with some partners using the time to engage attendees in brainstorming sessions around what equitable admission may look like in an ideal setting, and how to achieve that.

“The convening work that NACAC does – bringing people together – is so critical to learn from one another and to build off each other. NACAC excels at that,” said Don Yu, NACAC board member and member of the Equity Implications of Test-Optional Admission Policies advisory board. “That’s why we’ve brought together researchers and have built strategic partnerships with those who have access to data that can be leveraged as we work to reimagine college admissions. Using data and research to drive forward the future of college admissions will help ensure the results of our work here will be on target.”

Angel Pérez, NACAC CEO, said to the partners, “I think this kind of collaboration is the future. One of the things NACAC is passionate about is bringing researchers and practitioners together to solve the college admission challenges of tomorrow. I think you’re all leading the way in how we’re breaking barriers, and there’s an eager anticipation for the results here.”

For more detail on each partner’s area of research, see the NACAC Admitted blog.

Research is still underway. As findings and actionable takeaways become available, NACAC will share with its members and beyond.