While standardized testing is often considered a prerequisite for admission to any college, many universities have become aware of the drawbacks of such a rigid, streamlined measurement of learning. These schools have adopted other methods of assessing potential applicants, including test-optional and test-flexible approaches, which examine students' individual merits and needs.
Drawbacks of Standardized Testing
Standardized testing for academic and language mastery is an assessment tool used frequently, because it is easy to administer and grade. Students answer multiple-choice questions under identical conditions, and scores can be quickly calculated by a machine. However, this testing format often does not accurately measure students' ability to comprehend complexity, think critically and creatively, apply mathematical and scientific concepts or perform real-world tasks. These tests fail to take into account the different ways that students learn and process information, and the students who suffer tend to be those from low-income and minority backgrounds. In addition, the strong emphasis on standardized testing frequently results in a skewed classroom curriculum, as educators manipulate their subject material and resort to drilling and test prep rather than exploration and critical thinking to ensure higher test scores.
Alternatives to SAT/ACT Testing
Hundreds of colleges have already begun to explore alternatives to the SAT and ACT, the standardized tests used most frequently in college admissions. While few have done away with standardized testing altogether, many have diminished the importance of the SAT and ACT, referring to students' standardized test results only for research or placement purposes, academic advising or when considering out-of-state applicants. Several schools, including New York University, Colorado College, and the University of Maryland, have become test flexible, waiving SAT/ACT results if students submit their scores from other college-level exams such as the Advanced Placement test or the International Baccalaureate test.
Colleges That Do Not Require the TOEFL
Some colleges require the Test of English as a Foreign Language for international students applying to U.S. colleges. However, schools are increasingly waiving the TOEFL requirement in favor of intensive English-language programs that focus on a learning experience rather than a one-time test.
Colleges that accept international students without the TOEFL include all schools within the California State University and State University of New York systems, as well as several other institutions such as Stanford University and the University of Southern California.
Colleges That Do Not Require SAT/ACT Testing
The National Center for Fair & Open Testing has compiled a list of colleges and universities that do not require SAT/ACT scores for admittance. The majority of colleges included on this list are four-year universities.
However, many community colleges and other two-year collegiate programs do not require a minimum score on the SAT or ACT. Another valid path to avoid standardized testing is to complete an associate degree at a two-year college before transferring to a four-year university.
- FairTest: Colleges and Universities That Do Not Use SAT/ACT Scores for Admitting Substantial Numbers of Students Into Bachelor Degree Programs
- FairTest: What's Wrong With Standardized Tests?
- FairTest: How Standardized Testing Damages Education
- FairTest: Official List of Colleges and Universities That Do Not Use SAT/ACT Scores for Admitting Substantial Numbers of Students Into Bachelor Degree Programs
- Intensive English Language Program
- Graduates' Hotline: Universities in USA Offering Graduate Admission Without TOEFL/IELTS Score
- University Prep Pro: No Minimum TOEFL Requirement
Bethany Marroquin is a writer and credentialed English teacher from Southern California. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Westmont College, and completed her teaching credential in 2014 through Azusa Pacific University.