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University of Rochester Adopts Test Flexible Policy

Jon Burdick writes post 1 of a four-part series (part 2) (part 3) (part 4) on Rochester's new "Test Flexible" stance for undergraduate admissions.
 

I’m addressing a four-part blog to prospective students with detail about their chances for admission to the University of Rochester. 
 
This Part 1 is about testing, with news. In Part 2, I will describe the Rochester decision-making process. My original intent was to post Part 2on Sept 15 as a way to match my May 2011 post about scholarships.
 
However, news about testing emerged last week: the time has arrived to announce a change in the testing information Rochester will collect from prospective applicants for first-year studies.
 
Since 2004, Rochester Admissions has treated results from many tests—not just SAT-1 and ACT, but also AP, IB, A-level, SAT subject exams and others—as equally reliable evidence of students’ testing ability. Each year the number of applications has increased, requiring more reader activity and attention, and the number of students presenting strong subject test achievements has grown too. 
 
Rochester readers have grown more confident recommending for admission applicants with strong subject testing scores, even when the SAT or ACT scores were not in our typical 90th-100th percentile ranges. Since 2004, that confidence has proven well-founded, as retention and graduation rates have risen rapidly. Students who entered up to 8 years ago with “modest” SAT and ACT scores have started businesses, persisted to medical and law school, and excelled in creative careers.
 
Now that confidence supports our new practice. For the Rochester Class of 2017 and beyond, applicants can submit any national or international test result along with their secondary school records of courses and grades. While SAT reasoning and ACT exams are among the scores we will accept, applicants are no longer required to submit either, if their A-level, IB, AP, GaoKao etc. results show their testing abilities well. 
 
I think this change will help some students understand how much Rochester values diverse ways of thinking. Many (most) Rochester students “test well” on general standardized exams, and bring that ability to campus. Some prosper best mastering specific material in subjects that interest them most, and bring that diligence and focus. Both kinds of students can thrive at Rochester, and both will do best when they find each other here and develop many ways to collaborate and challenge each other.
 
 
What do you think of this new policy? Be sure to leave your comments below.