The University of California president is recommending the suspension of ACT and SAT tests as an admissions requirement until 2024.
Under the recommendation to the board of regents made public Monday, submitting the standardized test scores would be optional for applicants until 2023. During the 2023 and 2024 admissions cycles, the university, which has 10 campuses around the state, would not use the scores at all in considering applications.
In the meantime, UC would come up with “a new test that better aligns with the content UC expects applicants to have learned and with UC’s values,” UC President Janet Napolitano wrote.
The move comes amid a widening national discussion of the usefulness and efficacy of the tests in selecting what students will be admitted to a college or university. Critics of the standardized tests argue they don’t give an accurate picture of students’ academic ability and the process is biased against those from lower-income families.
UC, along with several other colleges and universities around the nation, has already dropped the standardized tests for admissions this year because of the Covid-19 crisis.
“These unusual and unstable circumstances are likely to persist and impact education for some time,” Napolitano wrote.
“It also recognizes the opportunity that the University, in partnership with California leaders, has to improve educational quality, equity, and access in the state by better aligning the indicators used to assess students’ college readiness and promoting greater access to the curriculum that shapes student readiness.”
While the test requirements are suspended, the university “will consult with K-12 educators, test experts, the California State University, and UC faculty to evaluate how best to construct a test better suited for the needs of UC,” Napolitano wrote.
If UC isn’t able to come up with a test to replace the standardized tests for fall 2025 applications, “UC will eliminate altogether the use of the ACT/SAT for freshman admissions,” according to the recommendation.
It’s not clear what would be required for out-of-state applicants.
The president will ask the Academic Senate and administration “to determine the appropriate approach for out-of-state and international students beginning in 2025,” according to the plan.
Napolitano also recommended that the SAT essay and ACT writing test be eliminated altogether as an admissions requirement.
The memo was sent as an action item for the board of regents’ May 21 meeting.