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UCalifornia Drops SAT, ACT Requirement Under Recent Settlement

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The University of California (UC) has decided to omit SAT and ACT scores in admissions and scholarship decisions following the settlement of a lawsuit released Friday. 

The policy was first announced in April 2020 to benefit the incoming freshmen class this fall, but the Board of Regents recently extended the effective date to 2024. 

Supreme Court Judge Brad Seligman of Alameda County ruled last September that campuses should not consider standardized test scores, noting that the test-optional policy at UC campuses gave wealthy, non-disabled applicants a “second look.”

CNN reported that the university complied with the preliminary injunction despite not agreeing with the court decision. The school drafted a settlement that includes removing test scores in admissions decisions that the board approved on Thursday.

Standardized Bias

Most of the colleges and universities that suspended the use of standardized test scores in admissions found it necessary because of coronavirus.

However, activists assert that poor, disabled students are often at a disadvantage in these tests. They argue that test questions contain an “inherent bias” in favor of students of privilege. 

This was the primary argument in the previous lawsuit filed by five high school students and six nonprofit organizations (College Access Plan, Little Manila Rising, Dolores Huerta Foundation, College Seekers, Chinese for Affirmative Action and Community Coalition) in 2019. 

The College Board, responsible for creating the standardized tests, reportedly respects the decision of colleges to go test-optional, but it believes that SAT and ACT scores help increase diversity and offer students the chance to stand out from other applicants.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, the SAT will remain one of the most accessible and affordable ways for students to distinguish themselves,” Goldberg said. “Preserving a student’s choice to submit scores is important,” Executive Director of Communication Zach Goldberg of The College Board said in a statement.

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