Are SAT scores inflated at test opt schools because of non-reporting?
Are SAT scores inflated at test optional schools because of non-reporting?
Yes, absolutely - test-optional policies have sometimes been criticized as a way for colleges to inflate their averages and rise in rankings. Here's a CollegeVine article that briefly addresses the ways colleges benefit from test-optional policies: https://blog.collegevine.com/what-test-optional-means-for-college-admissions/
That said, it's difficult to know just how inflated the averages are - you could go back and look at average SAT scores from before and after the school went test-optional, but you would also need to account for the fact that scores tend to rise each year as admissions becomes more competitive.
The average SAT scores at test-optional schools should still be a good target, especially if the schools are competitive. The more a student's academic profile aligns with (or exceeds) the school's published stats, the better their chances are.