UC must suspend SAT and ACT scores in admissions, scholarship decisions, judge rules

UC must suspend SAT and ACT scores in admissions, scholarship decisions, judge rules

Photo Credits: WIKIMEDIA

Lawsuit alleged that standardized testing requirements are “broadly biased”; UC may challenge ruling

The University of California must immediately suspend its SAT and ACT score requirements in its admissions and scholarship processes, Alameda County Superior Court judge Brad Seligman ruled yesterday, according to The LA Times

The ruling is in response to a lawsuit which alleged that SAT and ACT requirements are “broadly biased,” particularly when it comes to disabled students attempting to access testing spaces and help amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Superior Court decision comes in the wake of significant testing reforms within the UC system: in May, the UC Board of Regents voted unanimously to remove the SAT and ACT requirements from the UC application.

The Regents concluded that the test scores were “unacceptably biased based on race, income, and parent education level.”

Therefore, the UC previously decided that SAT and ACT scores would be made optional for two years before being phased out entirely, and could continue to factor into scholarship decisions. Seligman’s injunction, however, rules that test scores may no longer affect the admissions or scholarship process at all. 

“[The] UC respectfully disagrees with the Court’s ruling,” a spokesman for UC said in a Sept. 1 statement. “An injunction may interfere with the University’s efforts to implement appropriate and comprehensive admissions policies and its ability to attract and enroll students of diverse backgrounds and experiences.” 

The statement indicated that the UC would also be deciding whether “further legal action” was necessary in response to the ruling, and suggested that individual campuses were better positioned to make executive decisions regarding admissions procedures.

The spokesperson also said that UC’s decision to “adopt a test-optional approach” for the applicant class of 2021 and the university’s decision to phase out SAT and ACT score requirements to become test-blind by 2023 minimized the potential academic obstacles caused by COVID-19. 

Three UC campuses–UC Berkeley, UC Irvine and UC Santa Cruz–have already removed the testing requirements. The other UC campuses, including UC Davis, initially planned on considering the SAT and ACT scores if students chose to submit them. 

But in the ruling, Seligman maintained that there isn’t much data to demonstrate that standardized tests are an effective barometer of future academic success in college. 

The Superior Court’s ruling will be applicable to all UC campuses, meaning that SAT and ACT scores will effectively be irrelevant in the admissions process until 2025. 

The UC, beginning this summer, is working on a test that more closely aligns with UC expectations for current students. If the Regents find the test unfinished or insufficient in 2025, the test score requirement will be scrapped altogether.

Written by: Rebecca Bihn-Wallacecampus@theaggie.org