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Any sense if Virginia Tech will go test optional for HS class of 2021?

AlmostThere2018AlmostThere2018 2189 replies66 threads Senior Member
My S is applying OOS engineering and has only been able to take the ACT once b4 all the cancellations and didn't get the score he was hoping for. :(

He's signed up for the June test but who knows if that'll happen. I'm worried he's going to be under the gun this Fall to get a better score and he already has test anxiety -- he did a lot better on his practice tests. Sigh.

Thanks for any insights!
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Replies to: Any sense if Virginia Tech will go test optional for HS class of 2021?

  • rbc2018rbc2018 286 replies7 threads Junior Member
    @AlmostThere2018 I feel like College Board and ACT will have to add a bunch of test dates in the summer. If that ends up being impossible then it seems to me that universities will have to go test optional.

    Here's a good article about some of the schools that have already made that decision:
    https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/01/825304555/colleges-go-test-optional-after-sat-act-are-called-off
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  • rbc2018rbc2018 286 replies7 threads Junior Member
    @AlmostThere2018 Did he already send scores when he took the test? I'm hoping not, since he didn't like his score and considering the possibility that they could go test-optional. I always told my kids to not do the free score reports in case they ended up wanting to send a different score (and it's only like $12 to send it later).
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 6066 replies97 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2
    Because Virginia Tech is a state school, I don't think they can't make the TO decision for themselves....permission would have to come from Virginia Board of Visitors (like Trustees). State education regulations are different, so hopefully some VA residents weigh in. Meanwhile no harm in reaching out to an admissions person to ask.
    edited April 2
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  • AlmostThere2018AlmostThere2018 2189 replies66 threads Senior Member
    @rbc2018 -- No, he did not send his scores to any colleges so that's good.

    @Mwfan1921 -- yes, I may reach out. I'm sure they're swamped right now with class of 2020 trying to make decisions in this environment.

    Will just have to let this play out...
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  • cbl1cbl1 Forum Champion Virginia Tech 948 replies16 threads Forum Champion
    Applications don't go live until August 1 - I doubt we will hear anything related to class of 2025 applications until July at the earliest.
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  • rbc2018rbc2018 286 replies7 threads Junior Member
    A lot of universities are making announcements now (see the NPR article above), so it's very possible that we will hear something sooner than that (if for no other reason than to stop the flow of calls and emails from prospective applicants who can't test and are worried!). Also, if College Board/ACT cancel June and any other proposed test dates, I think universities will be compelled to respond to that in a timely fashion with a policy change.
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  • cbl1cbl1 Forum Champion Virginia Tech 948 replies16 threads Forum Champion
    edited April 2
    Some schools may be using this as excuse to jump ship from standardized tests (something they were probably already contemplating).

    I find it rather shady where some schools are making scores optional then showing their average SAT for incoming class based off of just othe ones that report (inflating their stats).
    edited April 2
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  • rbc2018rbc2018 286 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Yes, I remember when JMU decided to go test optional I thought it was clever-- then they're essentially only reporting the higher scores which make the school look more selective. But given the current extreme circumstances, I think schools are being realistic (and the University of California system made a point of saying this is temporary). I have a current junior (last of 3) who luckily already achieved the ACT score she needed to apply just about anywhere, but most of her friends were planning to take the test this spring and summer.
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  • AlmostThere2018AlmostThere2018 2189 replies66 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2
    All test optional schools do this re: reporting -- which is partly why more colleges are getting on the bandwagon. They look better b/c they are only report the scores they have which will skew higher.

    Also, colleges know that HS GPA is a better predictor of a student's college success than test scores anyway.

    I think this pandemic may be the death knell of SAT/ACT, except perhaps for merit consideration.
    edited April 2
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  • cbl1cbl1 Forum Champion Virginia Tech 948 replies16 threads Forum Champion
    edited April 2
    Not sure we will see the death of standardized testing ... but they have quickly become less of a deciding factor in admissions.

    And I find it hard to believe in test optional schools that not turning it in has no effect on your admissions. Two equal students and one turned in their SAT (an average score) and the other didn't - - I can't believe the one who turned in SAT doesn't get the spot. If not the case why even have people turn in at all. Test optional makes no sense other than to help the schools reporting.

    If they didn't care about the test then say you don't take it from anyone. Shows they do look at the ones they get and it is a leg up for that student.
    edited April 2
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  • rbc2018rbc2018 286 replies7 threads Junior Member
    I think you might be right. And I'm sure the SAT and ACT people are aware of that, just look at how College Board is bending over backwards to make AP testing possible at the end of this year.
    GPA is tricky though, because there is so much variation. When people talk about weighted gpa it means little, because some schools give points for honors, AP, DE, IB, everything. And some schools let kids retake tests until they get the grade they want. I'm sure admissions people have some sense of this, which is why they compare kids from the same high school, but a lot of people post weighted gpa in college confidential as if it's something absolute and comparable and it really isn't. That's the thing that's nice about SAT and ACT, it's an apples to apples comparison. I think the admissions game just got trickier for colleges!
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  • cbl1cbl1 Forum Champion Virginia Tech 948 replies16 threads Forum Champion
    Test optional = if you did bad don't tell us how bad you did we will just put you in the bottom crowd. So technically it helps someone who got say a 950 vs. a 1080 (both would get grouped the same).
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  • rbc2018rbc2018 286 replies7 threads Junior Member
    There are kids who have high GPAs (for a variety of reasons) and low or mediocre scores, but maybe other attributes that make them desirable (first generation, for example). By being score optional the institution doesn't ding their numbers by accepting that student.

    I think you guys are right in that this little experiment might end up being the new norm even after the next admissions cycle.
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  • AlmostThere2018AlmostThere2018 2189 replies66 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2
    @rbc2018 -- First, colleges have their own way of comparing GPAs across high schools -- they've been doing that for years. They essentially take apart a transcript and use their own weighting so that it's apples to apples.

    Intuitively, I know it see seems like the grading differences across teachers and schools would make a significant difference in the extent to which HS GPA predicts college success. I initially thought so too, but research does not bear that out.

    I know this professionally from state level higher ed research that I commissioned. You have a small number of high schools that are outliers (interestingly in our state the high end and low end outliers were charter schools -- but that's another conversation), but overall you can very nicely use HS GPA to predict college GPA. Part of the reason is that HS GPA is a meta measure, not a single data point. It combines information from many classes, many teachers, many subject areas, AND it measures those across time. That's quite a packed data point!!

    This means it's a measure of a student's achievement AND 'stick to it' iveness over time -- not just snapshot from a 4 hour test.

    And individual colleges confirm this -- I was on a webinar just this week where the admissions officer said they do internal analyses and HS GPA is the strongest, by far, predictor of a student's success. That's why many colleges have been decreasing reliance on test scores as an admissions factor even if they do require it.

    I think the biggest factor why colleges keep requiring or asking for tests at this point is rankings. They want high scores for that. They can get what they need by looking at GPA, rigor, ECs, essays and recs. That's plenty of info.
    edited April 2
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  • cbl1cbl1 Forum Champion Virginia Tech 948 replies16 threads Forum Champion
    I think they need to still have that datapoint with standardized tests its just going to continue to be a smaller portion of the overall picture.
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  • cbl1cbl1 Forum Champion Virginia Tech 948 replies16 threads Forum Champion
    I think it is a lot better practice in that most colleges allow superscores so students can send in their best - as that shows what their capability is vs. a single day.
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  • rbc2018rbc2018 286 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Oh I wasn't saying high school gpa doesn't correlate with college gpa. I do think to a large extent gpa reflects work ethic, which of course would also correlate with later success. It's interesting how different universities have settled on different weights for gpa, scores, etc., to produce a class that they think will be successful at their institution. I suspect that some schools use scores to further 'validate' gpa.
    What surprises me is when people in these type of forums judge or compare weighted gpas specifically, when you really can't do that without knowledge of the high schools. My kids' high school gives no weight for honors and less than a point for AP/DE (they use a wonky formula such that at the end of the junior year the number of AP/DE courses is divided by 32 and then added back to the unweighted gpa). It strikes me as odd when colleges report weighted gpa for an entering class.
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  • ShenVal18ShenVal18 464 replies4 threads Member
    rbc2018 wrote: »
    What surprises me is when people in these type of forums judge or compare weighted gpas specifically, when you really can't do that without knowledge of the high schools.

    Precisely why there shouldn't be "chance me" threads and results threads should just be celebratory or consoling/encouraging instead of resume-fests.
    cbl1 wrote: »
    I think it is a lot better practice in that most colleges allow superscores so students can send in their best - as that shows what their capability is vs. a single day.

    On the surface, yes. What isn't taken into account are the financial obstacles that certain portions of the student population have re: generating that superscore. As mentioned on other threads, I know of families who have invested several thousand $ in test prep and kids who have taken a test as many as 4-5 times. That leaves an income challenged student w/ comparable GPA/rigor in the dust.

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  • rbc2018rbc2018 286 replies7 threads Junior Member
    @ShenVal18 Very good points. I have friends in bigger cities whose private school kids start taking practice PSAT and SAT tests in 8th grade (and then of course they all hire private tutors as the kids get older, that's just the norm). We are in a small college town, and kids use the free online khan academy tools and that's pretty much it. And then there are kids in disadvantaged situations who have little to no guidance, encouragement, etc. on planning and preparing for such tests, much less the financial resources to retest, as you pointed out. All part of the discussion of why such tests should or shouldn't be required in admissions. So like Almostthere speculated, going test optional for next year's applicants might lead to a permanent shift in what schools emphasize going forward. Interesting times to say the least.
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  • cbl1cbl1 Forum Champion Virginia Tech 948 replies16 threads Forum Champion
    My daughter's Chesterfield County Public Schools - does PSAT for all 8th graders (took earlier this year)
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