UC to Consider Changing SAT/ACT Requirement for Application

The University of California has created a task force to research the effectiveness of standardized tests to gauge prospective students’ academic ability. Requested by UC President Janet Napolitano in July 2018, the task force will release their recommendations sometime in the 2019-2020 school year.  

Over 900 universities throughout the country have already removed the standardized testing requirement and made the exams optional for prospective students to submit with their application. Many universities have dropped the requirement, citing that test scores often are skewed unfavorably towards low-income or minority students.

Taking the data from the College Board’s 2015 Total Group Profile Report, there is a noticeable gap with average scores depending on the test taker’s race. Further analyzed by a report from the Brookings Institute, the data reinforces longtime concerns that Scholastic Aptitude Test scores reflect race inequality. As a result of this and similar reports, the UC created their own body to assess standardized tests.

“The Senate has since established a Task Force to determine whether SAT and ACT tests are useful measures of academic performance for the admissions process,” UC Office of the President Director of Media Relations Claire Doan said to the UCSD Guardian. “The university is currently waiting for the assessment and recommendations from the Academic Senate’s Task Force before determining whether any steps should be taken on this important issue.”

Overall, a majority of United States universities still use standardized testing in the application process. Schools, including all in the UC system and those who are test-optional, continue to work with the College Board for their recruitment and admissions process in varying capacities.

“The College Board’s 2019 National Validity Test, based on data from more than 223,000 students across 171 four-year colleges, confirmed that SAT scores are strongly predictive of college performance,” Director of Media Relations for the College Board Jerome White said. “We will continue to work with the University of California as it addresses the challenging tasks of admitting students from among thousands of qualified applicants and supporting their success when they arrive on campus.”

The UC system will continue to use standardized tests in their application process and will reconsider once the task force’s assessment is complete.

Image courtesy of the University of California.