All campuses in the University of Tennessee System will again require standardized test scores, such as the ACT or SAT, for students applying for the fall 2023 semester.
The university paused its testing requirement for two years during the height of the coronavirus pandemic when testing centers closed down to mitigate the spread of the virus.
In response, many universities across the U.S. went “test-optional,” meaning students could submit test scores if they had them, but were not required to.
UT followed suit. But as the world continues to adapt to the coronavirus, UT is returning to its prepandemic policy, which requires students to submit scores from the SAT, ACT or both.
“The chancellors and I, and our colleagues at the system and campuses, are extremely thankful for the very thorough engagement we have had with the board regarding the test-optional exception we made to our admissions practices for the last two years to accommodate our students during the COVID pandemic which made testing less available,” UT System President Randy Boyd said in a statement.
“Based on our review and the thoughtful conversations at our recent board meetings, the campuses do not intend to bring forward any proposed revisions to the university’s admissions policies.”
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The change doesn’t apply to students who have already been accepted into UT for fall 2022 and spring 2023.
The announcement comes after more than six months of discussion at the campus, system and legislative levels about how to handle standardized test scores moving past the pandemic.
Admissions leaders at the UT campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Martin explored the idea of making the admissions process permanently test optional, pointing out that high school grade point average was the greatest predictor of student success and graduation rates.
Hundreds of colleges have extended their test-optional policies, including several of UT Knoxville’s peer universities like Alabama, Kentucky and Missouri and aspirational ones like the University of Wisconsin.
The NCAA has backed test-optional policies, saying student-athletes at test-optional schools are eligible to compete in sports without submitting standardized test scores.
The state of Tennessee requires and pays for all eleventh-grade students to take the ACT or SAT in order to graduate, and pays for a free retake test if a student wants to test again.