Campus News

UW looking into removing mandatory standardized testing from admissions

The UW System currently requires standardized test scores in admissions. 

Image By: Alicia Shoberg

Standing and shouting to disrupt a Board of Regents meeting February 2016, a group of students who were a part of the BlackOut movement read a list of six demands aimed at improving diversity and inclusion at UW-Madison.

Tyriek Mack—now a junior and a member of BlackOut—read the last demand, which called for an end to mandatory standardized testing in applications to the university.

After more than a year since the start of this push, the UW System is looking into the possibility of removing mandatory standardized test scores in their admissions process, according to university officials.

Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf has agreed to discuss the possibility of changing to test-optional admissions with other UW System provosts, though it will require “careful consideration and consultation,” according to UW-Madison spokesperson Meredith McGlone, who said there is no timeline for that discussion yet. Mangelsdorf declined an interview request.

This comes after Mack recently introduced legislation to UW-Madison’s student government that demanded the university to look into the feasibility and utility of removing mandatory standardized testing scores in admissions.

The Associated Students of Madison passed the legislation Feb. 15, sending the demands to Chancellor Rebecca Blank. The legislation states that standardized tests “perpetuate and uphold white supremacy.”

Prior to proposing the legislation, Mack, along with two other students, researched and presented how standardized testing is a part of institutional racism, disproportionately preventing students of color from attending college.

McGlone said UW becoming test-optional would have “broad implications” and require a change in policy by the Board of Regents. UW-Madison currently has a holistic admissions process that features standardized test scores as one of the many factors considered, according to McGlone.

There were other demands involved in ASM’s legislation, titled “Cognitive Dissonance,” such as free tuition for all black students and an increase in need-based aid, but the university has not made similar progress on these demands. UW-Madison spokesperson John Lucas said the university does not support the free tuition proposal and is not advancing that demand.

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