Tuesday 12th December 2017,
The Transcript

Letter: Test optional policies will not lower value of OWU degrees

Barbara MacLeod. Photo: economics.owu.edu

Barbara MacLeod. Photo: economics.owu.edu

By Barbara MacLeod

Last week The Transcript printed an article on the expansion of the GPA bar for allowing test-optional applications to Ohio Wesleyan.  This has led to a misunderstanding amongst both faculty and students that the value of an OWU degree has been lowered.

I can assure you this is not true. Yes, Admissions is now allowing any student with a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher to apply to OWU without submitting ACT or SAT scores while the standard last year was a GPA of 3.5 or higher. But certainly we all recognize that an application does not equal admission. CAFA (Committee on Admission and Financial Aid) is the university committee charged with oversight of admission policy and we approved the current GPA guidelines after evaluating the results of last year’s policy.

We expect that this new policy will increase the pool of applicants, but – let me be very clear about this – it does not change OWU’s admission standards.

Most schools with a test optional policy, including Denison, have no minimum GPA requirement.

At OWU, we are maintaining a GPA minimum and at least two faculty review test optional files in the new range before an admission decision is reached.

A test-optional policy at Ohio Wesleyan has been under discussion at CAFA for at least four years. The initial impetus arose from faculty and students who did not believe that standardized testing, as currently practiced in the U.S., is a fair or just means of evaluating college applicants.

Our own studies show that the predominant predictor of success at OWU is an applicant’s high school GPA, so that is the factor on which we are focusing.

No admission decision, however, is made on any one factor, including that of standardized test scores for those applicants who submit them.

We continue to strive for a diverse and intellectually curious class at OWU that will engage the global questions of our world, produce leaders for the future, and have a great four years during their time here!

That has not changed, and the new policy will only open these opportunities to a wider range of potential students.

Barbara MacLeod is a professor of economics and chair of the faculy Committee on Admission and Financial Aid.

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