The UC should remove SAT/ACT requirement for college admissions

The UC should remove SAT/ACT requirement for college admissions

Photo Credits: CAITLYN SAMPLEY / AGGIE

Students are more than just a number: SAT/ACT does not reflect students’ worth, potential for success

The UC announced in September of 2018 that it would investigate whether or not SAT and ACT scores were an accurate measure of college success, according to the Los Angeles Times. Now, a year later, the UC Board of Regents is finally discussing the possibility of removing the SAT/ACT requirement for UC admissions.

After UC President Janet Napolitano requested that the Academic Senate “examine the current use of standardized testing for UC admission; review the testing principles developed in 2002 and revised in 2010; and determine whether any changes in admission testing policies or practices are necessary to ensure that the University continues to use standardized tests in the appropriate way,” Academic Council Chair Robert May created the Standardized Testing Task Force last January. This task force is comprised of professors from undergraduate and graduate programs across all 10 UCs, staff and a graduate student representative. It is supposedly going to produce preliminary results by February, even though it has not released any reports to date. The UC Regents aren’t expected to make a decision regarding the SAT/ACT admission requirement until some time in 2020.

A study from last year showed that out of 28 colleges and universities in the U.S. with a total sample size of over 950,000 applicants, the SAT and ACT fail to identify individuals’ potential to succeed in college. This has caused admissions decisions based upon these standardized tests to be moved “away from heavy reliance on measures increasingly deemed to provide a narrow assessment of human potential.” Likewise, the Undergraduate Students Association Council at UCLA called on the UC to remove the SAT/ACT requirement from its admissions and provide alternate ways to measure students’ abilities.

For the 2019–20 school year, the SAT costs $49.50 without the essay and $64.50 with the optional essay. The ACT costs $52 without the writing portion and $68 with it. But the heavier financial burden isn’t preparing for the test itself. Preparation courses or materials, tutors and actually sending the scores to individual colleges can cost thousands of dollars, which is much more than many students can afford. These tests greatly disadvantage those from low-income families who don’t qualify for fee waivers or who don’t have the extra time and resources to receive help preparing for the SAT/ACT. Minority students, especially those for which English is not their first language, tend to experience more difficulty as well, particularly in the writing sections.

Especially given that the UCs comprised the top six colleges that received the most amount of applications for admission in fall of 2018, the Editorial Board believes that the SAT and ACT are unfair admission barriers and should not be requirements for UC admissions. They are ineffective and decrease the diversity of the student body. The ability to choose the “right” multiple choice answer does nothing to help prepare students to think critically in the future — if anything, it does the opposite. Standardized tests take away students’ capability to think independently, and often kills their curiosity for learning. They do not test students’ competence, they do not reflect their potential and they do not prepare them for future careers. There is no justification for keeping the SAT and ACT. Our hope is that the UC will focus its attention on a more effective way to measure what these tests were originally intended to measure.

Written By : The Editorial board

1 Comment on this Post

  1. “They are ineffective and decrease the diversity of the student body. The ability to choose the “right” multiple choice answer does nothing to help prepare students to think critically in the future — if anything, it does the opposite. Standardized tests take away students’ capability to think independently, and often kills their curiosity for learning. They do not test students’ competence, they do not reflect their potential and they do not prepare them for future careers.”

    The scare quotes around the word “right” betrays how shallow this opinion is, as if math or physics or chemistry problems don’t have objectively right answers; as if it’s arbitrary to punish people academically for being objectively wrong about something they should know; as if being right on objective matters is not a necessary condition for critical thinking and independent thought; as if someone can be competent without even being able to solve the easiest problems life will ever serve them.

    This piece is anti-intellectual enough that the conclusion is almost certainly driven by ideology instead of the values The Editorial Board claims to be concerned about.

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