Press Releases | College Admissions

New Guidelines Threaten Fairness in College Admissions

ACTA Condemns Draft U.S. Department of Education Guidelines That Suggest Using Standardized Test Scores to Help Determine College Admissions Violates Federal Civil Rights Law
May 20, 1999

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) today condemned draft U.S. Department of Education guidelines that suggest using standardized test scores to help determine college admissions violates federal civil rights laws.

“These guidelines undermine the notion of an objective test of student achievement,” said ACTA President Jerry L. Martin. “Ignoring test results will make college admissions more arbitrary and less fair. These guidelines will be a death blow to the idea that individual merit counts.”

As reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education, the draft guidelines state, “The use of any educational test which has a significant disparate impact on members of any particular race, national origin, or sex is discriminatory, and a violation of title VI and/or Title IX, respectively, unless it is educationally necessary and there is no practicable alternative form of assessment which meets the educational institution’s needs and would have less of a disparate impact.”

The Education Department guidelines urge colleges and universities to use “alternative” criteria instead of test scores in making admissions decisions. But Martin argues, “Objective tests cannot be replaced. Tests are barometers of excellence. They are based on the principle that achievement matters.”

ACTA is a national organization of college alumni and trustees dedicated to academic freedom and excellence.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

Discover More