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University of California Sued for Using Standardized Tests in Admissions

The University of California system is being sued by a group of nonprofits over the use of standardized tests like SAT and ACT.

The civil rights lawsuit filed by four students, six nonprofits and the Compton Unified School District allege the university of creating a barrier to higher education for students of color and those with disabilities.

The lawsuit alleged that the university’s use of scores amounts to deciding students’ future based on their race and socioeconomic status and not on individual merit.

“Today’s legal action finally changes the conversation from a policy one to a legal one,” said Mark Rosenbaum, Directing Attorney at Public Counsel, a nonprofit law firm.

“Use of the SAT/ACT is not merely bad policy; it violates the California Constitution and anti-discrimination statutes, and is therefore legally and morally impermissible. Students should not have to endure the stress and expense of preparing for and taking the SAT, and the admissions process should no longer be contaminated by this discriminatory metric.”

Last month, nine organizations had penned a joint letter to the school’s Board of Regents urging it to cease the use of SAT and ACT test scores in decisions related to admissions. The groups had given a 10-day ultimatum to reply and threatened to file a lawsuit if the school didn’t comply with their demands.

“The SAT has built-in biases that ultimately derail the college aspirations of thousands of hardworking students of color who would thrive in college and make important contributions to the UC community and beyond,” said Lisa Holder, Of Counsel at the Equal Justice Society.

“The test serves no purpose other than to act as a barrier to higher education for historically disadvantaged students. The UC Regents have a duty to end this discriminatory practice.”

A recent report had pointed out that standardized test only admission policy leads to a lesser diverse study body. Under such a policy, the share of white students at America’s top 200 colleges would rise from 66 percent to 75 percent, while the number of students of color would fall from 19 percent to 11 percent. Asian student enrollment would also drop from 11 percent to 10 percent.

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