Bates' Enhanced Standardized Score Reporting

On its new CDS, test-optional Bates reports standardized scoring results for 96% (SAT and ACT combined) of its first-year students, in contrast to 76% (combined) for the prior year. Since Bates doesn’t appear to have required that all attending students provide scores as a condition for matriculation, this suggests that Bates now reports all available scores for all students who submitted them, including both scores for individual students who submitted SAT and ACT results.

Fall 2020

SAT Middle Ranges, 61% submitting

EBRW: 620–710
Math: 590–710

ACT Middle Range, 35% submitting


Fall 2019

SAT Middle Ranges, 45% submitting

EBRW: 630–750
Math: 640–730

ACT Middle Range, 31% submitting


So odd. I submitted scores for all my schools (only being below the median score for one school) mainly because it feels like there’s this sort of stigma against going optional and an implication that your score is a bit low. Truly odd though. Wonder if its the same with other test optionals like Wake or if its just a Bates thing.

I’m wondering if what’s happening is that students who had a decent score (even if they were only able to test once) submitted in the hopes that any kind of score could be something else to put on their application. Students might not have bothered to submit scores in other years when the scores might not have been considered very competitive.

I’m a test prep tutor and many of my students, if they were able to test and did okay, submitted scores as long as they were above the 50th percentile. I know that many of the kids I work with felt their apps were lacking last year, given that COVID suddenly stopped them from doing things they would ordinarily do.

I worked with a LOT of students who were able to only get one test in last year. These are kids who were signed up for multiple test dates for SAT, ACT or both. I think only one student was able to test more than once. It’s not too surprising that scores are lower than usual, because not many had an option to superscore. But I guess if that’s the case, similar results will be reflected by data from other colleges, which I haven’t looked at.

I’m guessing though. It’s interesting, at the very least. I am wondering if Bates will do away with test scores all together sometime soon.

Note that the students who enrolled at Bates in the fall of 2020 would have submitted their application materials prior to the disruptions of the U.S. pandemic. Therefore, the information for the two classes posted above represent normal years for Bates. The apparent change in scores appears to be related to a change in reporting policy by Bates. The underlying, actual scores may have been similar in both years.


You are right. Doh! My bad. I wonder if my theory will be applicable this year?

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Regarding the longer-term value of standardized testing, you might find this Carletonian article interesting, especially since it considers contrasting positions:


@merc81: Thank you for posting the article regarding Carleton College. The issues as stated in paragraph 13 of the article are worthy of consideration in the context of this thread.

Bates College is a leader in producing Fulbright students. If, as the new SAT data suggest, the incoming Bates students’ SAT scores are a bit lower than reported in earlier years, then this suggests that one’s abilities/intelligence is developing and capable of significant change rather than remaining static. Clearly, from an academic standpoint, Bates College is doing a superb job.

P.S. With respect to “colleges that change lives”, imagine the impact that the designation as a Fulbright award recipient can have on one’s academic & early professional life and on one’s self esteem.

For perspective, Bowdoin expressed a similar apparent change in scores when revising its reporting policy several years ago:

Fall 2016

SAT Middle Ranges, 54% submitting

CR: 650–750
Math: 640–760

ACT Middle Range, 44% submitting


Fall 2015

SAT Middle Ranges, 42% submitting

CR: 680–765
Math: 685–770

ACT Middle Range, 36% submitting


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Very helpful posts.

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As an update to this topic, note the following: