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Don’t ‘go back to normal’ testing urges NACAC

Changes in standardised testing for international students seeking to study in the US as a response to the coronavirus should remain in place in order to ensure greater social mobility for young people, the National Association for College Admission Counseling has said.

NACAC recommends that if standardised testing is to remain a part of the undergraduate admission process, “it must receive the most stringent of reviews”. Photo: Pixabay

"We must question the status quo, including our reliance on third parties to certify students’ qualifications for admission"

A report published by NACAC recommends that if standardised testing is to remain a part of the undergraduate admission process, “it must receive the most stringent of reviews”.

“After we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions, we cannot simply ‘go back to normal'”

“Though the Covid-19 pandemic created additional barriers to accessing standardised tests, certain populations — including international applicants  — have faced barriers for decades that will remain, or even be exacerbated, if or when testing returns to pre-Covid-19 operations,” the report read.

“Recent experience suggests the expansion of the student population and rapid changes in technology may have outpaced the capabilities of the testing agencies, causing significant disruptions for students who test outside of the United States.”

Fewer test dates, greater distances travelled to a limited number of testing locations, higher fees, differing policies for example on fee waivers and alternative testing formats have disadvantaged international test-takers, advocates have noted.

“After we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions, we cannot simply ‘go back to normal’… The tenuous grasp we hold on many of our habits and policies has been further loosened and we must adapt if we are to continue to fulfil our duty to the public good,” explained the report.

It highlighted that technology requirements for the ACT have resulted in some secondary schools unable to remain as testing sites.

“After years of expressing their concerns, professionals working with international students have been frustrated by limited responses from the testing organisations, minimal awareness of their challenges by higher education institutions, and the recurrence of the same issues on an annual basis,” it added.

“Having colleges adjust standardised testing policy is only one step in the right direction towards greater social mobility for young people in America and abroad,” said Angel B. Pérez – who became NACAC CEO in July.

“We must question the status quo, including our reliance on third parties to certify students’ qualifications for admission.”

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