LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — For the next four years, the University of California will not consider applicants’ standardized test scores during admissions selection.
The UC Board of Regents voted unanimously Thursday to suspend the SAT/ACT requirement for all freshman applicants through fall 2024.
“The suspension will allow the University to create a new test that better aligns with the content the University expects students to have mastered for college readiness,” the university system said in a press release.
The search for a new standardized test will begin this summer, and the university said it hopes to find a solution by January 2021 — whether such a test already exists or they will create one has not been determined.
In March, UC temporarily suspended the current standardized test requirement for fall 2021 applicants to mitigate impacts of COVID-19 on students and schools. This “test-optional” method will be used for fall 2022 applicants as well.
“The University’s response to the pandemic has provided an opportunity in the coming years for UC to pause and analyze additional, real-time data on the impacts of test-optional and test-blind admissions,” the press release states. “The suspension allows UC to address concerns about equitable treatment for all students regardless of whether they submit a standardized test score.”
By fall 2023, the university said it plans to no longer consider test scores for admissions selection, but it may use the scores for other purposes, such as course placement, certain scholarships and eligibility for the statewide admissions guarantee.
While the UC system intends to have a new test in place for fall 2025 admissions decisions, it said in the press release Thursday that it will still continue to eliminate the ACT/SAT requirement even if another test is not available.
The ACT/SAT writing tests will also no longer be required for admissions decisions, effective for fall 2021.
“Today’s decision by the Board marks a significant change for the University’s undergraduate admissions,” said UC President Janet Napolitano on Thursday.
Napolitano said the university will also work to find a comparable solution for assessing out-of-state and international applicants.
“While nonresident students are expected to complete comparable coursework, their high school courses are not pre-approved by UC in the same way as California high school courses,” the press release states. “Assessing nonresident students without a standardized test presents challenges in terms of fairness and practicality.”
The board will look into several options, including extending the new content-based test required of California students to out-of-state applicants as well, or requiring scores from the ACT, SAT or other approved standardized tests.
The decision to eliminate the use of ACT/SAT test scores in admissions selection is the result of a years-long, research-based effort to determine the effectiveness of these tests in evaluating students’ abilities, according to the university. The Academic Senate convened the Standardized Testing Task Force (STTF) in January 2019 and their findings were finalized and presented to the president in April 2020.