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College Board

Four more colleges -- including competitive Colorado College and the Rhode Island School of Design -- have gone test optional in admissions.

Colorado admits only 15 percent of applicants. A committee at the college has spent the last year studying the issue and recommended the change. Colorado officials said they expected the new policy to diversify the class.

“Test scores are only one of many criteria that are considered in an applicant’s academic portfolio,” said a statement from Mark Hatch, vice president for enrollment at the college.

RISD officials cited research to back its change.

“The ability of a standardized test to measure students’ academic capabilities is increasingly questioned, with new research demonstrating that these tests may privilege applicants in particular demographic groups,” said a statement from RISD president Rosanne Somerson. “Therefore testing requirements can limit access to college for very qualified students."

Elms College and the University of St. Thomas, in Texas, made similar announcements.

A statement from Elms said, "We see that you are more than a test score. You are your thoughts and ideas, your unique personality."

The University of St. Thomas said that it would let students apply without SAT or ACT scores if they write an essay explaining why test scores are not indicative of their academic ability, or submit a high school transcript with a 3.4 grade point average.

Arthur Ortiz, vice president for enrollment management, said, "Test-optional admissions is for those students who do not test well on standardized admissions exams but have very strong [grades]."

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