UC Board Regents abolished SAT and ACT as part of the application in the admission process of California high school students under the university’s 9 undergraduate campuses, May 21.
The decision was made by unanimous votes and six long hours of debate. The Regents supported Jane Napolitano-the president of the University of California and the main proponent of removing of SAT and ACT which has been part of the admission process for a century.
As Napolitano argued, “the correlation of the SAT and the ACT to the socio-economic level of the student, and in some case, the ethnicity of the student.”
Due to the corona virus and the interruption of the testing calendar, the standardized test is not anymore a requirement in the UC admission for the fall of 2022.
The Regents’ resolution carried out that the “test optional” will be used towards the fall of 2022 even before the permanent phasing out of SAT and ACT.
John Perez, chair of the regents added, “It is an incredible step in the right direction toward aligning our admissions policy with the broad-based values that the university has identified,”
There could be permanent national consequences for the future of standardized test in the college admission process due to the UC’s extent and reputation.
According to Terry W. Hartle, Senior Vice President at the American Council of Education, “The University of California is one of the best institutions in the world, so whatever decision they make will be extraordinarily influential,”. He added, “Whatever U.C. does will have ripple effects across American higher education, particularly at leading public universities.”
On the other hand, Carol Christ, a chancellor of Berkeley campus slammed the SAT and ACT abolition.
She argued: “I don’t favor the requirement … for application for admission,” Christ said. “I’ve been convinced by the research that shows its strong correlation with socio-economic status. I’m also dismayed by the anxieties created by the testing culture, with its particularly grotesque reflection in the by the ‘Varsity Blues’ scandal.”
Christ furthered: “While the SAT is a fine predictor of first-year performance (in college), high school GPA, together with the strength of high school courses taken, is a better predictor of overall undergraduate GPA and of graduation.”
“Given the socio-economic bias of the test, this makes sense. In my experience, it often takes students from less well-resourced high schools a year to overcome deficiencies in preparation.”
Earlier this month, Napolitano has been strongly expressing her intentions about the issue.
She has been insisting the board to suspend the SAT and ACT “to allow the University to modify or create a new test that better aligns with the content UC expects applicants to have learned and with UC’s values.”
As Napolitano recommended, “that UC eliminate altogether its standardized testing requirement for admissions for California students” if the university could not produce a revised version of the test for the applicants of the 2025 fall admissions.
Maxwell Lubin of Rise—a group urging affordable and accessible college education in California said that eliminating SAT and ACT “removes an arbitrary and in some ways discriminatory barrier to first-generation and low-income students and other marginalized groups of students, not only for applying to college but really seeing themselves in college.”
According to Lubin, there are students who attended academic institutions with less or worst no courses and counselors at all that can help them on the test. “Where they’re lacking is not in talent, but in opportunity,” he said.
Napolitano’s proposal that was adopted May 21st states, in part:
“That UC remain test optional for an additional year, that is through 2022.
“The recommendation is that for two additional years, 2023 and 2024, UC be ‘test blind’. For those two years, students would still have the option of submitting a test score, but that score could only be considered for purposes other than admission selection, such as course placement, certain scholarships, and eligibility for the statewide admissions guarantee.
“By 2025, any use of the ACT/SAT would be eliminated for California students and a new, UC-based test would be required.
“If, by 2025, the new test is either not feasible or not ready, consideration of the ACT/SAT would still be eliminated for California students.”