The False Hope Created by Test-Optional Admissions Policies

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Jerry Lucido, Professor and Executive Director at the Center for Enrollment Research Policy and Practice at the University of Southern California joined the podcast to talk about the potential false hope created by this year’s mass move to test-optional admissions policies. 

First, I would say that institutionsimplementing test optional, whether it's newly implemented or whetherthey've been test option for some time, is, do rigorous research about who yourpolicy helps and who it hurts. You're, listening to enrolment growth,university from helic education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Roman at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and Roman growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to an Roman GrowthUniversity, a proud member of the connect ETU podcast network, I'm EricOlson with helic education and were here today with Doctor Jerry Lucido,professor and executive director at the Center for Enrolment Research Policyand practice at the University of Southern California. Jerry welcomed theshow. Thank you. Eric really excited to have you here and talk with you todayabout the potential false hope created...

...by our test: Optional admissionspolicies, but before we dig into that conversation, can you get listeners alittle background on both USC and your role? There sure I'm very pleased thatthe university has seen said to create a research center that examines amoment policy and practice around the nation and around the world. Frankly,and in pleased to be the first director of that center, I came to that to thatrole honestly by running admissions in a Roman organizations at the Universityof Arizona at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and here at USC.Before I went to the faculty and in doing that work I realized that weneeded a national center to examine how all of these policies and practicesimpacted the nation and impacted our hopes for the educational futures ofour children. So that's what we're up to! I love that you and your team existin or doing the work that you're doing. I'm sure this isn't the perfectly cleanexperiment that your team would have liked. The boy O boy did we test out alot of different Roman practices last...

...year, Jerry? Maybe to kick off thatconversation? How did hier eds test optional admission policies affectspecifically are weight lists this year? Well, YOU'RE RIGHT! It was anextraordinary year and we learned a lot of things to go directly to yourquestion, about the weightless and about pirates testation policies quitedirectly, either rich gum, they, the elite institutions, those who havegreat name recognition and selectivity were able to admit more students,because their admission, dafling pools swelled due to the hope created by testoptional admissions on the parts of Mina students from as possible before.If they were concerned about their test scores, so they had thousands more insome cases, applications. As a result, they admitted more students in part tohedge, their own bets relative to the pandemic, and they also wait listedmore students for similar reasons. So what we saw was that weight list gotbigger, but they got actually used less by the elites, because their yieldswere unexpectedly high and I'm not sure...

...they should have been unexpectedly high,but they were, and most institutions with market differentiation actuallymade their targets. It was those who didn't have that kind of selectivity, aname referencin that benefited from weight listed students and thatstruggled a little bit for their enrolments. You briefly mentioned thedifference between the selective and less selective institutions. How abouton the student side? Are there certain groups of students that were seeingmore affected by these wayless policies than others? Yes, it appears will beginwith. Students of color students with color were added to weightless ingreater numbers as a percentage. So there was a national study that showedthat about twenty percent of students making college decisions overall thisyear were on weight list. That's a pretty high number twenty percent ofthirty hive percentage. Excuse me, but twenty nine percent of those were socalled. BICOCCO know black indigenous people of Color. So of that good,twenty nine percent were on weightless, so this proportionally affected thestudents of color. It also was...

...variously successful for low incomestudents. There are some institutions who felt they could afford low incomestudents it took more, they were there were more in their pools, but somefolks who do not have the benefit of being need blind or having largeindowments struggled with admitting more students of color and we're veryconcerned about the bottom line. So those students also were weredisproportionally disadvantage, not just by weightless, but by coved ingeneral, Jerry could test optional admission policies be providing some not only hope but potentially falsehope for some students that ends up actually distracting or delaying theirhigher education. Next step will certainly, it could provide self hope.There's no doubt about that. The irony of test option is mission. Is thatadmission decisions are less transposed, but when you can look at a website andsay well, we've admitted you know fifty percent t of our students within thisrange. You suddenly have a sense of...

...your competitiveness and O if I'm below,that that middle fifty percent- or maybe maybe that's a re school for me,or certainly a recolor me and that's a little bit more transparent withoutthat test, optional becomes more of a translucent at best situation, you know,depending upon the selectivity of a student. What are they actually lookingat? Is it all going to be great? Is it going to be my curriculum? Is it can be?My character is what does it mean? An additional way that test optionalprovides a false hope? is whether the institutions are committed to takingmore students are taking taking chances on students who might have had somewhatlower scores in the past or if they have different ways of carrying outtheir policies for those who submit transports compared to those who do notsit test course? In other words, if those aren't equitable, so it becomes alarger game that students need even increasingly more sophistication toplay. I should sum my spores I shouldn't, and this is a question.Students and families are asking...

...themselves all the time you know.Should I submit my scores at what point should I submit my course you know.Will I be disadvantaged by not submitting my scores, and so I think,there's some real lessons there about running test optional in a fair andEquitable Way, y a k o this is becoming a complex ethical conflict. Do you seethis as a larger conflict for those highly selective schools who may bemerely temporarily offering test topical admissions during the pandemic,then for other institutions who may have already been leaving this way, whomay even not have seen their application rates jump as much withthis change last year? Well, I'm not sure that test optional is a conflictfor selective schools if they're committed to doing test optional in away that that that's us to the institutions, I think the real issue ishow test options implemented. You know: Do we have fair inequitable processesfor those who submit scores these of e...

...those who do not? How rigorous are wein doing that and another issue to speak about this is, should instead ofbeing tested off, and should we be test blind, I mean: Are we using tests insome ways again to differentiate an admission? Are we using test todifferentiate in scholarships or in merit scholarships, and how do wecommunicate with students in this respect, so the conflict is often inhow test optional is implemented and, frankly, getting back to your originalquestion about selective schools. Some of these schools might want to go backto testing, but if key key competitors do not they're going to face greatbacklash about well, if x, school doesn't require me to send a test. Whyto you, you know, and that wouldn't go right up to the Ivy League, Jerry,wonderful thoughts. He finally, can you leave us with any next steps, advicefor institutions struggling with this and seeing what's coming back in theresearch they're, considering keeping...

...their test admission policies movingforward? What did they look out for be aware of yeah? You Bet- and I thinkI've already alluded to some of these, but I do have a number of next stepsthat would, I think, be really worthy of consideration. First, I would saythat institutions in semantic test optional, whether it's newlyimplemented or whether they've been test option for some time to dorigorous research about who your policy helps and who it hurts. You know be inthe game, in other words, long enough to determine the successive studentswho were admitted without tests and those who are admitting using tuscosand how are they going and can you continue to go on this path and was itactually producing for you? I would say another lesson is to be as transparentas possible to perspective students about what you are looking for foradmission for scholarships and for how you will implement. I think it's alsoworthy of a look at being test test blind entirely. If you researchsupports it, I would say finally seek...

...fairness and equity in your decisionsthroughout your test option on admission program, don't have onestandard for testers and another for not mitter's, and by that I mean theyrigorous in your approach to equity. You know make sure you understand whothis is impacting. Who is it not impacting on what our ultimate goals inour mission here and how do we make sure that that we're fair in that we'reusing similar criteria and everyone gets appropriate reads and equitableremaining that you know that those who have less advantage? You know I lookedat in ways that help them bring forward and help your mission officersunderstand their great qualities in the same way that you can for those who arecocu from more advantaged schools to have better counseling and bettercurriculum and all the rest. Terry thanks. So much for your time today.What's the best place for listeners to reach out to you or your team, but theyhave me follow up questions sure. Well, I'm happy to receive an email at myname at USC, so my first initial in last name, so J L- U Ci do at US Dot Duthat's an easy way, but to follow it...

...with what our center is doing and we'redoing. Research on the impact of Ovid and post secondary enrolment and thelike just go to our website and if you, Google, simply the letter C E R, P, pcenter for enrollment research policy and practice, just Google Sert cer PPand you can see all of what we do and sign up for our news letter whichcurrent serves about ten thousand in Rome layers around the country. AwesomeJerry thanks! So much for joining us today, yeah my pleasure Eric attractingtoday's new post. Traditional learners means adopting new enrolment strategies.He looks educations data driven enterprise, wide approach to enrollmentgrowth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this neweducation, landscape and Helix has just published the second edition of theirenrollment growth playbook, with fifty percent brand new content on howinstitutions can solve today's most pressing, enrolment growth challengesdownload it today for free at he locks...

...education com play book. You've been listening to enrolmentgrowth university from helic education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thankyou so much for listening until next time.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (224)