The fact that they went completely test blind tells us that they don’t value test scores all that much.
Correct. I imagine it’s because there is pretty limited data suggesting that ACT/SAT tests are predictive of college success. Speculating it’s even less predictive at a school like CalTech.
My guess is that many colleges are going test-optional or even test-blind to encourage disadvantaged students to apply. Since the overwhelming majority of disadvantaged students are unrepresented minorities, by encouraging these students to apply, colleges achieve more diversity while keeping their acceptance rates low. It’s a win-win situation.
Caltech is also largely self-selecting. Given it’s reputation for rigor, most kids won’t apply if they don’t think they can cut it.