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UC to use test-blind admissions for fall 2021 following court decision

The University of California will not use SAT or ACT test scores in fall 2021 admissions. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Saumya Gupta

Nov. 6, 2020 12:21 a.m.

The University of California will not use standardized test scores in fall 2021 admissions. 

The UC will take a test-blind approach and will not use the SAT or ACT as a factor in admissions for high school students applying in the fall 2021 cycle, according to the UC Admissions website. It will also not use the ACT or SAT test as factors to decide Regents and Chancellor’s scholarships. The University was previously using a test-optional approach for this cycle.

However, the UC may use standardized test scores as a factor to determine eligibility for the statewide admissions guarantee, which gives the top 9% of California high school graduates a spot in one of the UC campuses, or for course placement, according to the UC admissions website.

The UC Board of Regents unanimously voted to make standardized testing optional until 2022 and to eliminate the use of standardized test scores by 2024 at its May meeting. As part of the regents’ May 21 vote, the UC plans to create a new test by fall 2025. If the UC is unable to create a new one by then, it will continue to not use the SAT or ACT in admissions.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the UC required applicants to submit either the SAT with an essay test or the ACT with an essay test, which cost $68 and $70 to take each individual test, respectively.

The decision to go test blind comes after the California First District Court of Appeal denied the UC’s request to continue using standardized tests in admissions Oct. 29.

The UC attempted to keep the use of test scores in admissions after Judge Brad Seligman ordered a preliminary injunction in August, which mandated that the UC could not use the SAT or ACT test as a factor in its admission process.

[Related link: Judge issues preliminary injunction to bar SAT, ACT scores in UC admissions]

Seligman was presiding over a lawsuit in which a group of students sued the UC over its use of the ACT and SAT in admissions. The lawsuit claims the tests discriminate against applicants of color and applicants with disabilities.

The UC appealed Seligman’s decision in September and received a temporary stay, which temporarily allowed the UC to continue using standardized tests as a factor in admissions decisions.

Amanda Savage, a staff attorney at Public Counsel, said the court’s decision to deny the indefinite stay means that this will be the first admissions cycle in decades in which the UC will not consider test scores.

“Students who are applying this cycle will have the comfort of knowing that they will not be discriminated against on the basis of those scores,” Savage said.

Applicants started submitting their applications to the UC on Sunday and can submit them until Nov. 30.

The UC did not immediately respond for comment.

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Saumya Gupta | News senior staff
Gupta was the 2020-2021 assistant News editor for the national news and higher education beat. She was previously a contributor for the beat. She is also a fourth-year psychology student.
Gupta was the 2020-2021 assistant News editor for the national news and higher education beat. She was previously a contributor for the beat. She is also a fourth-year psychology student.
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