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Report recommends retention of UC standardized testing admissions requirement

The University of California formed the Standardized Testing Task Force in January 2019 to evaluate the UC’s current testing practices. Its report, which was released Monday, recommended that the UC continue to use standardized testing in its admissions process. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Eve Gross-Sable

February 4, 2020 12:09 am

A University of California report released Monday recommended that the UC continue to use standardized testing in its admissions process.

The report, which outlined the findings of the Standardized Testing Task Force, recommended the UC continue to require standardized test scores from applicants and instead change other aspects of the admissions process to make its classes representative of California’s diversity.

The Standardized Testing Task Force was formed in January 2019 at the request of UC President Janet Napolitano to evaluate the effectiveness of the UC’s current testing practices.

The UC’s decision to maintain its use of standardized test scores comes amid pressure to remove the requirement over concerns of discrimination.

The report found that due to the UC’s use of comprehensive review, which takes into account localized disparities due to race and class, the use of test scores did not worsen the effects of these inequalities.

Instead, the task force found evidence that the current admissions process compensates for the potential score differences that could arise from socioeconomic disparities.

The task force acknowledged the disadvantages that underrepresented minority applicants experience and the need for effective reforms to the admissions process to make the UCs more reflective of the diversity present in California high schools.

The report stated that the UC should focus on several areas, including reviewing and updating the 14 factors of statewide UC eligibility, expanding student academic support services and expanding the Eligibility in the Local Context pathway to admit more than the top 9% of students from each high school.

High school and city college students, the Compton Unified School District and a number of admissions equity organizations filed two lawsuits against the UC in December requesting that the system stop using standardized tests, such as the ACT and SAT, in its admissions process.

The lawsuits argued that the tests were discriminatory and give an advantage to students from privileged socioeconomic backgrounds who are better able to prepare for the tests.

The UC Academic Senate will review the Standardized Testing Task Force’s report in February and March and submit final recommendations, which the UC Board of Regents will vote on in May.

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Eve Gross-Sable
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