Two Ivy League Schools Get Rid of Standardized Tests to Promote “Intellectual Diversity”

Two Ivy League universities announced that many graduate programs will discontinue their traditional standardized Graduate Records Examination testing requirements for applicants.

They cite reasons dealing with “diversity” and concerns that these tests are “biased” against minority and low-income students.

Princeton University and Brown University recently announced that they are discarding standardized testing requirements for graduate admission under the banner of creating a more “diverse” student body.

Back in September, Princeton announced its decision to get rid of the standardized test for 14 different graduate programs in September, declaring that the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) is biased against minority groups.

The Princeton Graduate School Associate Dean for Access, Diversity, and Inclusion, Renita Miller, called for “intellectual diversity” in graduate programs, and highlighted the importance of “demographic diversity.”

Miller argues that scrapping this requirement will help Princeton accomplish its mission “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.”

To bring more equality to graduate programs, many university officials believe that phasing out standardized testing is the way to accomplish this. Princeton Director of Graduate Studies for Classics Johannes Haubold argues that “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 cited resource concerns, pointing out that some students can afford coaching for standardized tests while others don’t have this luxury.

In October, Brown University announced a similar initiative which eliminated GRE requirements for 24 doctoral programs. The university argued that eliminating these requirements would “attract a wider pool of applicants” and “reduce barriers that discourage some students from groups historically underrepresented in higher education and from low-income backgrounds from applying for admission.”

Brown Graduate School Dean Andrew G. Campbell asserted that “by removing the Graduate School’s GRE requirement and allowing programs to decide whether to require the exam, we will broaden the talent pool of students who apply to and have access to graduate education at Brown.”

Both universities’ revised testing policies will be in effect for graduate programs beginning in the Fall of 2020. Some of the notable programs with the new requirements are both universities’ neuroscience programs, in addition to Princeton’s molecular biology graduate program and Brown’s biomedical engineering and biotechnology programs.

These moves by Princeton and Brown to lift GRE requirements for several graduate programs come right after Cornell University scrapped the same requirement from its biomedical engineering program because it was worried that these requirements “can be biased against” women and minorities.

Universities in America, especially those in the Ivy league, have been breeding grounds for political correctness.

By removing testing requirements to fit a PC agenda, they’re not only reinforcing identity politics, but they’re sullying the legacy of institutions that pride themselves in being America’s most elite venues of higher education.

Meritocratic institutions should not care about PC grandstanding nor the ethnic background or gender of applicants. If they truly lived up to their mottos and goals to produce the best alumni possible, universities should only be concerned with the applicants’ merits and credentials.

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