Dec 22, 2021 • 29M

Should More Colleges Drop the ACT and SAT?

Not in the name of equity and social justice.

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Amna Khalid
Banished is a show about our reassessment of the many people, ideas, objects and even works of art that conflict with modern sensibilities. What can we learn about our present obsession with cancel culture by examining history, and what might it mean for freedom of expression? And how do we reconcile opposing points of view without turning on each other? For subscriber-only content, visit
Episode details

Last week, Harvard announced it will extend its test-optional admissions policy for at least another four years. The stated reason is that the pandemic has reduced access to test sites — but this decision has added grist to the test-elimination mill.

The movement to do away with standardized testing is predicated on the idea that tests are culturally and racially biased, and that they don’t reflect the true abilities of students. Some even refer to them as proxies for privilege.

On this episode of Banished, Amna Khalid discusses testing and meritocracy with Jeff Snyder, associate professor of educational studies at Carleton College. Snyder argues that scrapping admissions tests won’t make a dent in two of the biggest advantages held by more affluent students: legacy status and athletic skills.