ACT CEO argues in favor of continued standardized testing in UC admissions process
ACT CEO Marten Roorda said in a letter to the University of California Board of Regents that he believes standardized testing should continue to be required in the UC admissions process. The letter comes in the wake of two lawsuits filed against the UC for its use of the SAT and ACT. (Daily Bruin file photo)
By Alexis Duke
Jan. 10, 2020 12:31 a.m.
The head of the ACT testing company said he believes standardized testing should continue to be required in the University of California admissions process in a letter sent to the UC Board of Regents on Monday.
The letter, from ACT CEO Marten Roorda, was sent in response to the UC Academic Senate Standardized Testing Task Force, which was formed to investigate the use of standardized testing in university admissions.
The Board of Regents created the task force to conduct a formal review of the usefulness of standardized testing and provide recommendations on future steps, UC spokesperson Claire Doan said in an emailed statement.
The letter also comes in the wake of two lawsuits filed against the UC in December. The lawsuits requested that the university system discontinue its use of the SAT and ACT, based on the claim that standardized testing disadvantages minority groups and reduces access to higher education.
However, Roorda argued in the letter that he believes standardized testing provides an objective measurement of student ability.
He added the ACT has developed a fair-testing program that can predict college readiness and support course placement, student guidance and scholarship decisions, which all contribute to student success.
Roorda said he thinks the UC should require standardized testing for admission for multiple reasons, including the UC’s need to efficiently evaluate an overwhelming number of applicants and mitigate grade inflation and deflation in high schools.
Roorda added he believes the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test, which has been considered as an alternative to the ACT and SAT, is insufficient because it can only be taken once, would require new testing infrastructure in schools and was not originally designed to measure college readiness.
Roorda also said removing the standardized testing requirement would not address the root cause of the systemic inequality reflected in poor testing scores.
According to the letter, the ACT is working to address testing inequity by working to provide more test preparation materials to students, continuing to distribute fee waivers, accommodating students with disabilities and offering test support to students who are learning English.