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University of California eliminates SAT/ACT requirement

UC to create its own test by 2025

365体育投注Students applying for admission to University of California campuses will no longer need to take the SAT or ACT tests, the UC Board of Regents decided Thursday in a unanimous 23-0 vote. The landmark decision, anticipated for over a year, is expected to have repercussions on the future of standardized testing nationwide.

The regents voted to accept by UC President Janet Napolitano to phase out the use of the SAT and ACT over the next four years. During that time, UC will aim to develop its own test. If a new test cannot be created by 2025, standardized testing will be dropped altogether from the admissions process.

365体育投注“We are removing the ACT/SAT requirement for California students and developing a new test that more closely aligns with what we expect incoming students to know to demonstrate their preparedness for UC,” Napolitano said in a .

365体育投注In July 2018, at Napolitano’s request, the UC Academic Senate convened a task force to analyze research and determine whether requiring the SAT/ACT contributes to inequities in the admissions process.

“Today’s decision marks the culmination of a two-year, research-based effort by UC to evaluate the value and use of standardized tests in admissions,” the UC Office of the President stated.

Over the past several months, numerous UC leaders came out against the tests365体育投注, saying they were convinced by research showing performance on the SAT and ACT is heavily influenced by race, family income and parents’ education.

“They really contribute to the inequities of our system,” UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ said in November. A long-time critic of the tests, Christ eliminated the SAT/ACT requirement at Smith College while serving as the school’s president in 2002.

“The initial information that I’ve seen shows that the highest predictive value of an SAT isn’t in how well a student will do in school, but how well they were able to avail themselves of prep material,” regents chairman John A. Pérez . “Access to that prep material is still disproportionately tied to family income.”

Founded in 1868 as a public land-grant university, UC has a mandate to equitably serve Californians of all backgrounds.

365体育投注Over six hours of debate and testimony on Thursday, UC regents and education experts agreed that, because of in K-12 education, of upholding that mandate.

Not all university leaders, however, have agreed on the role of standardized testing in perpetuating those inequities in the UC admissions process. In February, after 18 months of research and analysis, the Academic Senate’s standardized testing task force  recommending UC keep the SAT and ACT as an admissions requirement.

According to the report, the SAT/ACT serves as a useful predictor of college success without “worsening the effects of disparities already present among applicants.” The task force found that UC’s comprehensive admissions process, which takes into account the average SAT/ACT score at an applicant’s school, as well as other factors, is sufficient to “make up for the potential adverse effect of score differences between groups.”

In April, the Academic Senate, which is typically tasked with determining admissions requirements,  to back the task force’s recommendation to continue using the tests.

Despite that vote, Napolitano recommended eliminating the testing requirement last week, citing an opportunity “to improve educational quality, equity, and access.” Napolitano also referenced the “likely ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, families, and schools.”

Five-year plan

Like many other universities, UC had already made the SAT/ACT optional for this year’s applicants because of disruptions caused by COVID-19. On Thursday, the regents approved the following plan to phase out the SAT/ACT:

* Test-optional for fall 2021 and fall 2022: Campuses will have the option to use ACT/SAT test scores in selection consideration if applicants choose to submit them, and will develop appropriate policies and procedures to implement the Board’s decision.

* Test-blind for fall 2023 and fall 2024:365体育投注 Campuses will not consider test scores for California public and independent high school applicants in admissions selection, a practice known as “test-blind” admissions. Test scores could still be considered for other purposes such as course placement, certain scholarships and eligibility for the statewide admissions guarantee.

* New standardized test: Starting in summer 2020 and ending by January 2021, UC will undertake a process to identify or create a new test that aligns with the content UC expects students to have mastered to demonstrate college readiness for California freshmen.

* Elimination of the ACT/SAT test requirement: By 2025, any use of the ACT/SAT would be eliminated for California students and a new UC-endorsed test to measure UC-readiness would be required. However, if by 2025 the new test is either unfeasible or not ready, consideration of the ACT/SAT for freshman admissions would still be eliminated for California students.

* Elimination of writing test: The University will eliminate altogether the SAT Essay/ACT Writing Test as a requirement for UC undergraduate admissions, and these scores will not be used at all effective for fall 2021 admissions.

The Academic Senate will work with university administrators to determine future admissions requirements for out-of-state and international students.

“I think this is an incredible step in the right direction toward aligning our admissions policy with the broad-based values of the University,” Pérez said Thursday.

— Reach Caleb Hampton at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @calebmhampton. 

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