Schools within the University System of Maryland now have the option to remove the requirement for prospective students to submit their SAT or ACT scores for admission.

USM’s Board of Regents voted June 17 to remove language from its policies that required its 12 universities to include SAT or ACT in their admissions processes.

With this new policy, USM no longer has final say on whether a university within its system can require standardized testing. Each school has the autonomy to decide whether standardized tests will be required in its admission processes. Schools do not have to go before the Board of Regents for approval, according to USM spokesperson Mike Lurie.

All USM schools have already switched to a test-optional model. Most USM universities implemented test-optional policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several schools, such as the University of Baltimore and Salisbury University have been test-optional since before the pandemic. If a university within the system wanted to implement a test-optional policy pre-pandemic, the school had to get separate, formal approval from the Board of Regents.

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The University of Maryland has not decided whether it will implement a permanent test-optional policy at this time, a university spokesperson wrote in an email to The Diamondback.

This university first implemented the test-optional policy for the fall 2021 semester because many standardized tests in 2020 were canceled due to the pandemic. In 2021, the university extended its test-optional policy to the spring and fall admission periods of 2022 and 2023.

This university aimed to collect and analyze data on how the test-optional approach affected students and the admission process during those two years.

“Research has shown that the rigor of a student’s high school coursework, GPA, and extra-curricular activity are the most accurate reflections of a student’s ability to succeed in college,” Lurie wrote in an email to The Diamondback. “A student who does have a successful performance on the SAT or ACT examination is welcome to submit that result to strengthen his/her application for admission.”

University President Darryll Pines said during the USM meeting that students of color “tend to have biases against them by these tests, and they don’t get into schools.”