University of California System finalizes testing standards

Natalie Cosgrove

The University of California System (UC System) is no longer taking SAT and ACT scores into account during their admission process. They will cease to utilize a test optional policy, as they have for the 2020-21 school year.

The decision was prompted by complaints about the standardized tests putting people with lower socioeconomic status at a disadvantage, according to the New York Times. They also explained that the College Board is contemplating creating a new, more fair test.

“The settlement resolves a 2019 lawsuit brought by a coalition of students, advocacy groups and the Compton Unified School District, a largely Black and Hispanic district in Los Angeles County,” the article said. “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.”

Juniors explained their opinions on the announcement’s impact on the college admissions process.

Juniors shared their perspectives on the announcement, while thinking about their upcoming college admission processes.

Jack Coleman ’22 said he thinks that the announcement does help students in certain aspects, however ultimately, the SAT and ACT’s were helpful for differentiating students, adding another factor for consideration into the college admission process. He said that the score is also one of the only things that all students are required to send in.

“While I recognize the manifold reasons for the UC System’s decision, I definitely disagree with it,” Coleman said. “Standardized testing has a lot of issues, but it is one of the few remaining benchmarks that apply to all students. I think it’s more important than ever to have a general test for everyone.”

Jane Hamilton ’22, contrary to Coleman, said she views the announcement in a more favorable light because of the gap of scores based on access to study materials and private tutoring.

“I think not accepting test scores is a step toward creating a more equitable UC admissions system for students who don’t have access to resources to prepare for the tests,” Hamilton said.

Students expressed various viewpoints on the new testing standards. 

Ceerous LeSage ’23 said he believes that not having the tests will open up spare time for students to take on other initiatives. He said he does not think the decision will greatly affect him however, since other schools still require the test for their admission process.

“I think that this is really interesting because it allows high schoolers to now focus on different things rather than studying for these standardized tests,” LeSage said. “I feel like this still doesn’t change much, though, because there are still other colleges that require SAT or ACT scores, or are test optional, so most people will still end up taking the tests.”

Similarly, Madeleine Chan ’23 said she is conflicted on whether or not she thinks that the decision will benefit herself and other students.

“I think it’s pretty hard to know how to feel about [the new UC policy] because while it does alleviate lots of stress, it also puts pressure on students to find other ways to differentiate [themselves from other students],” Chan said.