UC system officially drops SAT, ACT scores from use in admissions and scholarships

ByAndrew Morris KGO logo
Saturday, May 15, 2021
UC system drops using SAT, ACT scores in admissions
The University of California system will no longer use SAT and ACT scores from its admissions and scholarship decision process, after a legal settlement with low-income students of color and those with disabilities.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The University of California has agreed to drop SAT and ACT scores from its admissions and scholarship process, marking a distinct shift away from the decades-long high school tradition.

An announcement came Friday in the form of a legal settlement with students, as first reported by the Chronicle. The UC Board of Regents had first been considering the move early last year. UC Berkeley's chancellor even spoke out in November 2019 against the exam requirement, saying the tests "really contribute to the inequities of our system."

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Activists have long argued that standardized tests put minority and low-income students at a disadvantage. Critics say test questions often contain inherent bias that more privileged children are better equipped to answer. They also say wealthier students typically take expensive prep courses that help boost their scores, which many students can't afford.

The UC Board of Regents voted in May 2020 to eliminate the SAT and ACT testing requirement for incoming freshman students. Critics of the testing system argued that low-income students of color and those with disabilities were disadvantaged without elite tutors or strategic test prep services.

The SAT and ACT tests can still be used when considering a student for admissions in the fall of 2022, but the test will be optional.

FairTest, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit group that is generally opposed to standardized testing, announced last month that more than 1,400 accredited colleges and universities that grant bachelor's degrees won't require students applying for fall 2022 admission to submit test scores. That is more than 60% of the undergraduate institutions in the United States, the group said.

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The UC hopes to have another test in place for freshman students enrolling in the fall of 2025.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.