University Of California To End SAT And ACT Admission Requirement

May 22, 2020
Originally published on May 22, 2020 8:53 am
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Students applying to schools in the University of California system will no longer have to submit SAT or ACT scores to gained admission. The Board of Regents voted to suspend the testing requirement. Here is Adolfo Guzman-Lopez of member station KPCC in Los Angeles.

ADOLFO GUZMAN-LOPEZ, BYLINE: The plans call for UC's nine undergraduate campuses to make the scores optional for two years and not require them at all for two years after that. UC President Janet Napolitano, who proposed the change, said the university may replace the SAT and ACT for admissions after that.

JANET NAPOLITANO: That we, by 2025, cease any use of the SAT or ACT altogether.

GUZMAN-LOPEZ: Napolitano said she agreed with research that suggested underprivileged applicants scored lower because they couldn't afford test preparation. Varsha Sarveshwar graduated from UC Berkeley last week. She addressed the regents meeting, saying that she benefited from that kind of privilege growing up in suburban Los Angeles.

VARSHA SARVESHWAR: Many students attended summer test prep programs before they took the SAT. Others, including me, benefited from private tutoring. This usually cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

GUZMAN-LOPEZ: But she supports doing away with the requirement because she wants UC Berkeley's black and Latino student population to better reflect California as a whole. Before the vote, the company that administers the ACT said doing away with its scores for admissions would make the decisions more subjective. University economics professor Julian Betts told regents they should keep test scores.

JULIAN BETTS: Both grades and test scores are predictors of a wide variety of UC outcomes, even after taking into account student backgrounds.

GUZMAN-LOPEZ: In the end, the vote was unanimous. Advocates of test-optional admissions say 500 colleges and universities make standardized test scores optional and hope more large universities follow the University of California's lead.

For NPR News, I'm Adolfo Guzman-Lopez in Los Angeles. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.