UC Schools May Drop SAT and ACT Requirements

NY Post

For half a century, the SAT has been an important factor in college admissions for UC Schools. However, this may all change due to the UC system discussing whether or not to drop the SAT and ACT as an admission requirement for incoming first-year students. The discussion is a weighty debate on both sides of the argument. A decision will be made early next year. Until then, this what you need to know about what is being discussed.

Scores on the SAT/ACT are looked at because they help “predict college performance,” which is also how the UC schools keep up their academic quality. The College Board has recently this year did a study of 223,000 students across 171 four-year colleges confirming that SAT scores are strong indicators of college performance and that grades and test scores combined are the best predictor of success rather than either by itself. On the other hand, there are people who think dropping the standardized test is a way to help low-income students enroll in school. They also see it as a disadvantage for students who can not test thoroughly as others, due to not having the same access or money for SAT practices.

There are resources to prepare for the SAT/ACT. For example, Khan Academy, tutors, and books. Money spent on some of these resources in the hope of being able to earn a good score. However, many students are financially not able to purchase these preparations. Though Khan Academy is free, it is online, and many do not have internet access at home, which makes studying more difficult.

A study was made this year from the UC Academic Senate members to determine if they should continue to require standardized testing. People applying to UC colleges would still be able to report their scores but it would be completely optional.


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Many schools already offer the test-optional and 47 more schools have begun this policy in the last year. The test-options are when schools give the option to the applicants whether they want to submit their SAT/ACT scores for admission. However, educators worry that the test-optional would cause “grade inflation” and make high school teachers pressured into giving students A’s.

Schools like Pitzer College are test-optional campuses. They found that about half of the applicants did not submit test scores. Still, these applicants’ average first-year GPA of 3.4 is about the same as peers who did submit scores according to Yvonne Berumen, vice president for admission and financial aid. Some other test-optional schools are University of Chicago, Brandeis University, the University of Rochester, Wake Forest University, Wesleyan University. Bates, Bowdoin, Colorado, Dickinson, and Emerson.

Schools such as Chicago University have had a 20 percent increase in first-generation, low-income and rural students and veterans committing to the school. Wake Forest went test-optional in 2009, and reports that “ethnic diversity among undergraduates increased 90 percent from 2008, the final year in which the scores required, to fall 2017 — and there has been no difference in academic achievement between those who submitted scores and those who did not.”

College Board spokesman Zachary Goldberg discussed how the SAT is not meant to make sure all colleges require the SAT. The main reason is “to expand access to college for more students and help them succeed when they get there. We work closely with test-optional institutions. They are our members, they participate in our programs, and representatives from test-optional colleges have served on our Board of Trustees. Whether required for admission or not, SAT scores help colleges create data-driven programs to ensure admitted students get the support they need to graduate.”


Excelsior College


Students at Taft Charter High School were asked if they think SAT/ACT scores should drop for UC admissions. Junior, Ariana Alvarez said, “I think UC schools should drop the ACT/SAT for California based students because the kids here deserve a fair chance into getting those schools. On SAT/ACTs, you can self-study, but some socio-economically advanced students have a clear advantage in those standardized tests, which makes it unfair for students who don’t have access to those classes.”

Junior, Kimberly Hernandez said, “ I believe it should remain the same because it has been working for such a long period, why to change it. The SAT/ACT show which students are truly motivated to score high. The test would be less difficult if they have good study habits. It shows which students truly work hard to achieve their dreams and shows colleges the students’ persistence.”

For a teacher’s perspective, English teacher, Mr. Herder, was asked whether he thinks UC schools should drop the SAT/ ACT or keep it the way it is. He said, “I think that they should keep it because it gives a fairly objective standard to judge their applicants. The question is, how important should it be. I think it should be one of the many ways of which they should judge their applicants.”

Mr. Herder stated his opinion on how UC’s removing SAT/ACT requirements could put pressure on teachers to give better grades due to the greater focus on GPA. He said, “teachers feel the responsibility and the impact of their grades mainly because students talk about ‘I can’t get a B, I want to go to University.’ I believe there is grade inflation going on right now, which is an objective way of telling students it should not have as much importance, but it gives more insight into where the student is.”

Things are unequal when it came to students who have more access or are financially stable to have materials to prepare for the SAT/ACT, unlike students who are not so much. Mr. Herder does think that Universities should “consider the entire student, not just their grade.” If you are a student who stays on top of their classes whether or not you are able to have the resources to practice for the ACT/SAT, Mr. Herder states “ you’re going to go to some college, may not be the one you really want but I think in the long run of life it does not make any difference. In life, you are going to do just as well. You are going to be where you want to be.