The University of Washington won’t require freshman applicants to take the ACT or SAT, the university has announced.

The temporary change in admission policy affects high-school juniors — students who usually would be taking the tests this year before applying for admission for fall 2021.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the high-stakes standardized tests have been canceled across the nation this spring. Typically, they are administered in large rooms with dozens of students sitting close together for hours. Many universities have also dropped the requirement for fall 2021. Earlier this week, Seattle University announced it would permanently drop the requirement to submit test results for admission.

Critics have long argued that the standardized tests make college admissions inequitable because families with more money can game the system — hiring tutors or sending their kids to test-taking prep classes to boost their scores. Some critics also believe the tests themselves are biased. Colleges that have dropped the requirement over the years say grades are a better measure of a student’s ability to succeed in college.

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“Every student in the state will celebrate this news,” said David Quinn, who coordinates the International Baccalaureate program at Edmonds-Woodway High School. Quinn said the College Board, which administers the SAT, “has too much influence over the future of UW applicants.”

“I hope this temporary action can give the UW the student performance data it needs to prove that they can build a competitive undergraduate class without using these assessments,” he said by email.

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