The University of California is phasing out the SAT and ACT as a requirement to apply for its 10 schools.
On Thursday, the California system’s governing board made a unanimous decision to suspend both testing requirements through 2024 and to eliminate them for California students by 2025.
Under the influential UC system are schools such as the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, Berkeley. Observers now believe that the decision may influence the way other colleges in the U.S. view standardized tests, which have long been accused of being unfair to poor, Black and Hispanic students.
Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, a member of the board, expressed such a view, reports the Los Angeles Times.
“These tests are extremely flawed and unfair,” he said. “We are saying this is wrong and enough is enough.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many colleges nationwide, including the University of California schools made the SAT and ACT optional for this year’s applicants.
The ACT and the College Board, nonprofit organizations that administer standardized tests such as the SAT, are now reportedly losing revenue from the cancellation of test dates. Both companies have said they will be introducing an online testing option in the fall.
Due to the size of the University of California schools, the move to do away with testing is expected to take a huge chunk off the over $1 billion revenue the College Board earns each year.
Numerous small liberal arts colleges have made similar decisions before, and now many are expected to follow suit, experts tell the New York Times.
“The University of California is one of the best institutions in the world, so whatever decision they make will be extraordinarily influential,” American Council on Education senior vice president Terry W. Hartle was quoted as saying. “Whatever U.C. does will have ripple effects across American higher education, particularly at leading public universities.”
Observers further note that this decision may also damage the image of the tests, which may later be used as a basis to completely eliminate them.
Meanwhile, the university system plans on collaborating with other California schools to do a feasibility study on creating its own admissions test.
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