Monday, February 17

UC sued over use of SAT, ACT scores in its admissions process


News, UC


Four students, five admissions equity organizations and the Compton Unified School District filed lawsuits against the University of California on Tuesday over its use of the SAT and ACT in its admissions process. The lawsuits claim that the use of standardized testing in undergraduate admissions is discriminatory. (Kanishka Mehra/Assistant Photo editor)


High school students, admissions equity organizations and a Los Angeles school district filed two lawsuits against the University of California on Tuesday, claiming that the use of standardized testing in undergraduate admissions is discriminatory.

The lawsuits, which were filed on behalf of high school and city college students, as well as the Compton Unified School District, request that the UC cease using the SAT and ACT in its admissions process.

Mark Rosenbaum, directing attorney at Public Counsel, a pro bono law firm, said in a teleconference that he believes the SAT and ACT provide advantages to students from privileged socioeconomic backgrounds, while disadvantaging underrepresented minority students.

He added that they were reluctant to file the lawsuits, but ultimately did after they failed to get the UC to end the requirement voluntarily.

UC spokesperson Claire Doan said in an emailed statement that the UC is disappointed that the plaintiffs decided to file the lawsuit.

President Janet Napolitano requested that the Academic Senate conduct a formal review on the use of standardized testing in July 2018, Doan added. The task force is expected to provide recommendations by early 2020, she said.

“The University of California has already devoted substantial resources to studying this complex issue,” Doan said.

However, Rosenbaum said he does not think this is enough.

“The current review by the University (Academic) Senate task force of standardized tests is not a substitute for this lawsuit,” he said. “It’s not even a deliberation on the legality of the use of these tests. It has no fixed end date, and at best it will only result in recommendations.”

Evidence has shown that neither test provides meaningful information about students’ abilities to succeed in college and that the tests are largely a proxy for students’ socioeconomic backgrounds and races, Rosenbaum added.

“If the SAT means anything, that stands for ‘Socioeconomic Advantage Test,’” he said. “It is illegal. It is illegal wealth and race discrimination that damages the futures of tens of thousands (of students).”

The lawsuit also seeks to end discrimination against students with disabilities in standardized testing, which can take the form of inaccessible test sites or failure to approve necessary accommodations, Rosenbaum said.

“When it comes to the use of the SAT and the ACT, the UC Regents are on the wrong side of history,” he said. “(We are a state) where what, tragically, matters for students seeking to better their circumstances and to make a better world are the unearned privileges of family affluence and majority race.”

Mo Hyman, executive director of College Access Plan, a nonprofit organization that aims to reduce gaps in access to college information, and one of the plaintiffs, said in the organization’s research to provide test preparation to students, it’s found that the SAT and ACT are poor indicators of college readiness and are barriers to college access.

The one thing these tests consistently correlate with is wealth, Hyman said.

“Our participation in this action is not meant to be antagonistic to the UC, but rather stems from our deep respect of the UC system as an engine for intellectual development and economic mobility,” Hyman said.

Kawika Smith, a senior at Verbum Dei High School and a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said standardized tests, such as the SAT and ACT, don’t take into account her trauma and experiences.

“It does not report to the UC that I am a survivor of being raped in the sixth grade, and homeless consistently from second to eighth grade,” Smith said. “It doesn’t account for the domestic violence that I’ve endured, the witnessing of a murder before I was even in third grade, or the death of my brother, which led to me taking over a week off of school, my second semester of my junior year.”

According to the complaint, the UC’s use of a holistic admissions, which aims to consider both academic and nonacademic achievements in relation to the opportunities students had access to, does not reduce the discriminatory impacts of the SAT and ACT.

“Although UC professes to employ a ‘holistic’ review process to evaluate applicants, that process is irretrievably tainted by its requirement that applicants submit SAT and ACT scores,” the complaint read.

Smith said that these tests do not show to the UCs that she recently gave a TEDx talk about addressing a discriminatory policy at her school or her participation on her neighborhood council.

“Standardized tests like the SAT reminds me that racism and classism have only become more sophisticated,” Smith said. “Instead of straight out saying people of color and underprivileged people aren’t allowed, a test is in place to illegitimately justify why such groups of people are not suitable for the UC system.”

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Reddit
Assistant News editor

Shapero is an assistant News editor in the National News & Higher Education beat. She was previously a contributor for the National News & Higher Education beat. Shapero is a third-year political science student who enjoys covering national and statewide news.


Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.

  • Katelynn

    I always have between 6,000 to 8,000 US dollars every 4 weeks from the net. It really is satisfactory to doubtlessly substitute my last professions net earnings, precisely taking into consideration I simply just work approximately 20 hrs every week from a home office.I ended up losing my job after doing work for the same employer for many years, I desired legitimate income, I was not exploring for the “get rich quick” home packages you watch througout the internet. Those are usually pyramid system or things where you need to sell to your colleagues or persons in the family. I quite simply required a trustworthy process to make a living for me as well as my family members. The most exciting part of doing business on the net is that I am generally home with the children, I save a bunch of money. Actually, it is very simple than you might imagine, all that is needed is fill out a quick application form to gain front line access to the Home Income Method. I got the information kit and within 4 weeks I initiated making money over 4,000 bucks monthly. The instructions are very easy, you do not have to be a computer expert, but you should be aware how to use the net. If you are able to fill forms and also surf sites, you are able to do it successfully, You need not even have to sell anything and nobody needs to buy something. It is as easy as being on Facebook or twitter.Here’s the easiest method to start >>> earn10keachmonth.hexe.in

  • Rena

    Opportunity never knocks the door twice, It is always necessary to make full use of the opportunity. A career which gives you full flexibility to work from home. Job opportunity which is internet based and you need to simply invest handful of time into the work. It is certainly not similar to cons you will notice on online that claims to make you millionaire and later turned out to be some fraud selling schemes. It is valid and reliable. You can easily start and it also enables you to get wonderful incomes. Be your own boss and spend a lot more valuable time with the people you care about and can earn almost $17000 every month. Here’s the right way to begin===> woo.by/gI