This past Friday, the University of California released an announcement about a legal decision that stated that its systems will no longer be looking at SAT and ACT scores as part of the decision-making process for scholarships and even admissions.
The New York Times reported that the decision brings a long-standing dispute to a close. Back in 2019, advocacy groups, a chunk of students, and the Compton Unified School District filed a lawsuit against the University of California system, trying to put an end to the school’s use of the tests as a way to determine admissions.
“The plaintiffs said that the college entrance tests are biased against poor and mainly Black and Hispanic students — and that by basing admissions decisions on those tests, the system illegally discriminates against applicants on the basis of their race, wealth and disability,” stated the Times.
as reported by the Times, the College Board, the creator and operator of the SAT, stated back in January that it would remove the subject testing and the optional essay section of its test.
As part of the settlement of the lawsuit that concluded this past Friday, the university confirmed that ACT or SAT scores would hold no weight in its future admissions procedures.
The settlement says:
For students applying for entry between Fall 2021 and Spring 2025, no University of California (“UC”) campus will consider SAT or ACT scores in determining whether to offer admission. SAT and ACT scores, if submitted by students, will not be provided to admissions readers.
It continued on by saying that “SAT or ACT scores will not be used in determining whether to award UC-funded or UC-administered scholarships.”
This past year, the university system had a vote and agreed to phase out the tests over time as they had gotten many complaints against the use of such things in admissions decisions. All of the schools in the University of California system had decided that the previously important tests would now be optional for anyone seeking to apply to the school this past year for entry for the fall semester due to the rise of issues from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once the decision has been made, the California system’s school board voted to keep the optional requirement for another year, “and said it would not consider scores for the next two years in the case of in-state applicants. In those cases, standardized tests would be used only to award scholarships, determine course placement and assess out-of-state students,” reported the Times.
The student body then sued the university and in response lawyers stated that sending in the test scores, even if they are voluntary, would lead to harm for the students applying, especially those with disabilities who did not have the opportunity to take the exams during the pandemic.
A Superior Court judge, of Alameda County, gave a preliminary injunction that stated that the university system was not going to be allowed to consider SAT and ACT scores as part of its admissions decisions, even if the exams were optional.
The University released an announcement this past January that its fall 2021 undergrad application numbers were the highest in its history even though we are still mid pandemic.
The university stated:
The proportion of applications from underrepresented students for freshman admission remained steady at 45.1 percent this year, inching up from 45 percent last year. Campuses saw significant growth of freshman applications from African American students, with an increase of 1,505 applications or 21.8 percent, as well as Chicano/Latino students, with a jump of 5,250 or 12.2 percent.