Waking up early on a Saturday. Sharpened No. 2 pencils and a calculator. For teenagers headed to a four-year college, taking a standardized entrance exam such as the ACT and SAT is typically a requirement. But it’s far from a universal experience.
In 50 of the largest U.S. cities, examined in a new report from the University of Washington, Bothell’s nonpartisan Center on Reinventing Public Education, fewer than 1 in 3 students takes either of those tests in a given year.
The rate of taking the SAT or ACT in those cities topped out in Memphis, at just 30 percent. In three-fifths of the cities, it was less than half that. While there’s a trend toward test-optional admissions at some colleges, the majority of four-year institutions in the country still require one or the other.