The effect of test-optional policies on student enrollment demographics

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University of Alabama Libraries

This study attempts to examine test-optional admission policies and their effect on student enrollment demographics at a public research doctoral university in which test-optional policies were adopted in 2015. The researcher questioned whether adopting test-optional policies changed enrollment rates and test score submissions and how the effect of test-optional policies differed by gender, race/ethnicity and financial aid. With the examination of test-optional policies in the midst of a global pandemic, I aimed to contribute to the literature of college admissions and guided new and upcoming test-optional institutions.By utilizing a non-experimental, descriptive research design, the data of undergraduate first year enrollments of the university from 2010-2019 by traditional and test-optional admission policies were analyzed. Through descriptive statistics, the data were summarized for each research question, the means and percentages were calculated and shown in tables and graphs. Findings from the analysis indicated that adopting test optional policies had variety changes in student enrollment demographics. While the numbers of applicants, admitted and enrolled students increased, the percentage of enrolled students had a small decrease in total. It was also found that more than half of enrollees opted to not submitting their test scores after the adoption of test optional policies. Based on data results, more women and more Hispanic and African American students enrolled in the university. As a final result, the numbers of Pell Grant recipients increased after adopting test optional policy. Since Covid-19 pandemic has had a remarkable effect on admissions and caused colleges and universities to go test-optional, diverse new research topics are waiting to be discovered in this area.

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Higher education administration