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Race to the bottom: Ivy League schools drop 'culturally biased' standardized test requirement

Two Ivy League universities have announced that many graduate programs will no longer require the traditional standardized Graduate Records Examination testing requirements for applications, citing reasons pertaining to “diversity” and concerns that such tests are “biased” against minority and low-income students.

Both Princeton University and Brown University recently announced that they are moving away from standardized testing requirements for graduate admission in the name of creating a more diverse student body.

Princeton announced its decision to do away with the standardized test for 14 different graduate programs in September, calling the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) biased against minority groups.

Princeton Graduate School associate dean for access, diversity, and inclusion Renita Miller cited a need for “intellectual diversity” within graduate programs, as well as the importance of “demographic diversity.” She insists that doing away with the requirement will help Princeton to achieve its goal “to identify, attract and develop the most promising individuals from as many segments of society as possible.”

“Universities like Princeton have done a good job at expanding and diversifying their undergraduate populations,” Miller added. “If we want to make similar strides on the graduate level, we must find new ways to recruit and enroll graduate students who may be the first in their families to attend college, and from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds.”

The assertion is that one way to do this is to do away with standardized testing, because, as Princeton director of graduate studies for classics Johannes Haubold puts it, “there is concern that standardized tests are culturally biased in favor of certain groups; and that they end up testing primarily how good one is at taking tests.” Haubold also brought up resource concerns, noting that some students can afford coaching for standardized tests while others cannot…[ ]

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