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SAT, ACT test scores no longer required in UC admissions process

The University of California Board of Regents voted unanimously to phase out the use of the SAT/ACT test scores in admissions at its Thursday meeting. (Liz Ketcham/Photo editor)

By Saumya Gupta and Julia Shapero

May 21, 2020 5:26 pm

The University of California Board of Regents voted unanimously to suspend all standardized testing requirements for admissions through 2024 at its meeting Thursday.

The board accepted UC President Janet Napolitano’s recommendation 23-0, meaning the UC system will make standardized tests optional through 2022 and fully suspend the use of the tests for admissions by 2024.

The UC will also work to make a new test that would be available to California high school students to use in admissions. If the UC is unable to create a new test by fall 2025, the University will not resume its use of the SAT or ACT in admissions considerations, according to the recommendation.

The decision went against the Standardized Testing Task Force’s report published in January, which stated the UC should conduct additional research before making a decision to go test-optional. 

[Related link: Report recommends retention of UC standardized testing admissions requirement]

The Standardized Testing Task Force was created by the Academic Senate in January 2019 at Napolitano’s request to examine the degree to which standardized test scores predict student success and whether alternative measures of testing should be developed.

The regents discussed the item for about five hours before finally reaching a decision.

Alumni Regent Christine Simmons said that decades of data support that standardized tests are exclusionary and discriminatory.

“It’s time to innovate how we teach,” Simmons said. “It’s time to reassess what success in education looks like. We have this antiquated model, … and it starts with that test.”

While Academic Senate chair Kum-Kum Bhavnani agreed that the tests are discriminatory, she said that the senate’s report found that their use in the UC system is not.

“The main reason we are looking at SATs is because they are racist,” Bhavnani said. “No one disputes that. What the task force found, however, was that the way in which the UC uses them stops them (from) being (discriminatory).”

Bhavnani suggested that the UC take a different approach to allow the University to gather more data. 

Similarly, Regent Jay Sures proposed that instead of following Napolitano’s recommendation, the UC make standardized tests optional for two years and then look at the data before making a decision.

However, Napolitano said at the board meeting that she believes it is time for the regents to make a decision about standardized testing.

“We have been talking about this for decades,” Simmons said. “The time is now.” 

Contributing reports by Eshan Uniyal, Daily Bruin contributor.

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Saumya Gupta
Julia Shapero | 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.
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.
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