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The California Institute of Technology has announced that it is dropping a requirement that applicants submit the SAT or ACT writing test. Caltech's move follows those of Stanford and Princeton Universities last week. Only 22 colleges appear to still require the writing test, although millions of students take the exams every year. A statement from Caltech said, "Writing and communications skills are valued highly by Caltech and will continue to be evaluated through the information collected in the SAT/ACT verbal sections as well as through required application essays. With this policy, Caltech aims to streamline the application process and eliminate additional testing fees incurred by applicants."

The University of Michigan is considering such a change.

A spokesman for the College Board defended the value of the SAT writing test. "Everyone agrees that writing essays and developing extensive research projects are essential for college readiness and success," he said. "We believe that the SAT essay provides a strong complement to the multiple-choice section by asking students to demonstrate reading, analysis, writing, and critical thinking skills in the context of analyzing a provided source text. As part of the redesign, we lengthened the SAT essay to 50 minutes to give students more time to engage in thoughtful, effective writing. Moreover, because essay responses are collected in a secure test administration, individuals and institutions making use of the essay’s scores can have confidence that the work produced is each student’s own."