Editorial

Many people realize that the process for admitting students to the University of California discriminates against impoverished students from less-privileged socioeconomic backgrounds or disadvantaged schools.

In an attempt to level the playing field for such students, UC President Richard Atkinson is ready to unveil a plan that will eliminate SAT I scores from UC admissions criteria.

In a day when expensive preparatory courses promise to raise students’ scores by hundreds of points, the Guardian feels that Atkinson’s move is a smart one that will keep students from buying their way into the UC system. At the very least, his plan will reduce applicants’ use of personal finances as a way of developing advantages over students whose financial circumstances do not allow them to enroll in expensive preparatory courses.

In addition, eliminating the outdated standardized exam will allow students who come from below-par high schools to have a better chance at gaining admission to the college of their choice.

Importantly, Atkinson’s proposal is not one that eliminates standardized tests altogether. Instead, it proposes that UC admissions boards continue to take into account SAT II test scores, because these are believed to be a better measure of what students have learned in high school.

For example, the SAT II contains diverse subjects such as English, math, history, social studies, science and languages. All of these are areas of study that college students typically encounter in their majors and general education requirements, whereas the SAT I is highly generalized and reflects only two possible subjects. Atkinson has argued that because the SAT II is based on many subjects that are often included in university curricula, it is a better indicator of how a student will perform in college.

The university currently admits 60 percent of its students based solely on grade point averages and SAT scores. The remaining 40 percent are admitted after a review of supplemental information, such as personal statements, letters of recommendation and extracurricular activities.

The Guardian realizes that simply dropping SAT scores will not completely level the playing field for underprivileged students, but we feel that Atkinson’s plan is a positive move and deserves our support.