SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — In a landmark decision Thursday, University of California regents voted unanimously to suspend the use of SAT and ACT tests as a requirement of admission and eliminate them for California students by 2025.
The regents voted to approve a plan unveiled by UC President Janet Napolitano earlier this month to end the standardized testing for new students and replace them with a homegrown test.
The decision by the UC regents could lead to a shifting of testing policies for other colleges and universities across the country. The 10-campus UC system serves nearly 300,000 students.
The plan calls for suspending the current test requirement until 2024 to allow the university to “create a new test that better aligns with the content UC expects applicants to have learned and with UC’s values.”
If UC can’t have a new test available for fall 2025 applicants, the plan would eliminate the standardized testing requirement for admissions altogether.
UC campuses will continue to have the option to use ACT/SAT test scores in selection consideration for fall 2021 and 2022 applicants if students choose to submit them. Beginning with fall 2023 applicants and ending with fall 2024 applicants, campuses will not consider test scores for admissions selection at all.
The push to eliminate SAT/ACT scores as an admission requirement is part of a long-running debate over the fairness of the nation’s testing system. Critics argue the tests put minority and low-income students at a disadvantage, and test questions often contain inherent bias that more privileged children are better equipped to answer.
In addition, wealthier students often take expensive prep courses that help boost their scores, which many students can’t afford.
But others expressed concern that dumping the tests would lead to grade inflation, admission of less-prepared students and backlash over different entry standards for different classes.
That was the argument in a lawsuit filed against the UC system in December on behalf of some high school students and nonprofit groups.
The test requirement is moot at the moment. With California high school campuses closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, UC has made the tests optional for students who want to attend the fall 2021 sessions. Napolitano recommends that UC remain test-optional through 2022.
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