The UC school system was ordered to immediately suspend all use of SAT and ACT test scores for admissions. This decision came after a judge sided with attorneys who argued students with disabilities were harmed by standardized tests in the pandemic.

UCs suspends SAT, ACT scores in admissions

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Through a judge ruling, the University of California (UC) school system must suspend usage of SAT and ACT scores in admissions among all their campuses, effective immediately. This ruling, which voids the 52-year-old standing requirement of submitting SAT scores for UC applications, divided students and staff in regards to its intentions and efforts made in preparation for the tests.

Earlier this year, the UC admissions staff said that applicants who chose not to submit test scores would still receive full consideration. While many viewed this as an advantage, this decision voided all opportunities of having an SAT score increasing one’s chances of enrollment. The ruling is linked with the rationale that the usage of standardized tests would create a two-tier system inaccessible to minority students, students of lower socioeconomic status, or those with disabilities.

“I have always felt that tests like the SATs and ACTs were biased and short sighted. Especially now, I feel like COVID has exposed an educational system with inequities,” English teacher Catherine Burkhart said. “The tests favored privileged students with access to tutors and a network of support…and I hope we realize that [the usage of SATs and ACTs are not] fair, accurate, or necessary.”

While students found the decision necessary for maintaining equity and health, many questioned their time and efforts. Senior Xifeng Li, criticized the SATs and ACTs for the way they are constructed. Li originally aimed for a high score in preparation for applying to his main college of interest, UC Berkeley, but said that he initially felt disappointed when test centers began closing due to the time he lost.

“I cared less over time because there are other things that I feel like college admissions officers should focus on, such as volunteer work as well as self initiated learning,” Li said. “[Standardized tests] also disproportionately affects underrepresented minorities, including African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic students. Schools should eliminate standardized testing because there are a lot of other indicators to their success in high school, such as through the rigor of their schedules, GPA, AP/IB classes and exams, etc.”

However, English teacher Scott Myers, who dedicates class time everyday into SAT grammar preparation, disagrees with the decision, stating that he would not change the way he teaches as UC schools are, “only one avenue” for his students. 

“The SAT and/or ACT are standardized tests that accrue the progress of all test-takers,” Myers said. “They are tests that display subject-matter knowledge, regardless of a student’s grade point average.” 

Currently, the UC system—disagreeing with the ruling—is deciding whether “further legal actions” are called for. The UC system is working on a test that they believe will align better with their expectations for students.

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