It’s Official: University of California Schools to Drop SAT and ACT
This spring the education world watched and waited as the UC System debated on whether or not to stop using ACT and SAT scores in admissions. The wait is now over as the University of California has officially announced that they will officially no longer be taking the scores into account, according to an article from Inside Higher Ed.
This will follow President Janet Napolitano’s five-year proposal to eliminate the ACT and SAT in UC admissions. This gradual plan will phase out the tests in lieu of an admissions test specifically for the UC system. This plan has also garnered interest from Chancellor Tim White of the California State system, though no formal plans have been announced.
For incoming students in the fall of 2021 and 2022, the schools will be test-optional. Beginning in 2023 and going through 2024, UC schools will be partially test-blind, in that they will not ask for scores for admission, but will use them to determine other factors, such as certain scholarships. By 2025, the current goal is to have a new standardized test for California residents, meaning only non-residents would have to take the ACT or SAT. If no new test is created, however, the schools would go fully test-blind.
The hope in creating a new exam for the schools is that it would be a true measure of a student’s ability to perform well at UC schools, and not, as Li Cai, a UCLA education professor put it, “a K-12 school accountability test.”
Reactions to the news have been mixed. Many support the move, including minority advocacy groups who see statistics regarding how drastically privilege, race, and income can affect these test scores, leading to disproportionate representation in student bodies. Other groups against standardized testing maintain that looking at an applicant’s essay and transcripts are far more reliable than any test score could be. The move has, however, drawn criticism from the ACT and College Board, as well as specific education groups such as the Asian American Coalition for Education, who feel that eliminating standardized testing does not get to the heart of the issue of accessible education.
Despite this, the University of California is moving forward with the plan in the name of innovation and student success. Given that California is such a diverse state, with students coming from a wide variety of backgrounds, testing changes of this scale out on this system will be incredibly telling. The changes are expected to be closely watched by other colleges across the country as the UC schools take on the unprecedented.
Read the full article here.