University of California will no longer require SAT, ACT for admission

The University of California system will no longer require SAT and ACT scores for admission after reaching a settlement agreement, a statement from the UC system said.

This decision extended the policy for 2022 and 2023 after making the the tests optional for freshman admissions for fall 2021 and 2022 due to the COVID pandemic.

Now the university leads others in the move away from standardized testing, conceding to activists who view the tests as unfairly favoring privileged students and as an inaccurate reflection of a student’s academic ability.

The “test optional” policy at most UC campuses afforded privileged, non-disabled students a “second look” in admissions, said Brad Seligman, the Alameda County Superior Court judge who issued the preliminary injunction in the case of Kawika Smith v. Regents of the University of California.

“The University complied with this decision, but it strongly disagreed with the court’s decision and filed an appeal,” UC said in the statement.

UC said it also “explored the possibility of a settlement with the plaintiffs that would provide certainty for students and their families, counselors, and high schools.” The Board of Regents approved the settlement on Thursday.

Under the settlement, the university agreed not to consider test scores in admissions or in scholarship decisions for fall 2022.

“The Board of Regents had already decided in May 2020 that SAT or ACT scores would not be considered for fall 2023 admissions and beyond,” UC said. “And all the UC campuses have announced plans not to consider SAT or ACT scores for fall 2022 admissions.”

“Evidence shows that when colleges consider SAT scores in the context of where students live and go to school, as with our free admissions tool Landscape, the SAT helps increase diversity,” Zach Goldberg, executive director of communications at The College Board, said in a statement.

“Performance differences across groups of students reflect an unequal K-12 system. That’s why the SAT should only be considered in the context of where students live and go to school, and an SAT score should never be a veto on a student,” Goldberg said.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, the SAT will remain one of the most accessible and affordable ways for students to distinguish themselves,” Goldberg said. “Preserving a student’s choice to submit scores is important.”

photo/ Jan Vašek

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