UCs banned from using SAT/ACT

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Coco Tsaur

UC? MORE LIKE YOU’LL SEE: A student prepares meticulously for the SAT and ACT amidst constantly changing circumstances.

Rahul Khanna

The University of California (UC) must immediately discontinue the use of the SAT and ACT as part of their admissions process, as ruled in a preliminary injunction on Sept. 1.

The injunction cites concerns that the option to submit scores, even if not mandatory, creates a system of privilege for wealthier students to enhance their college admission prospects, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The barriers faced by students with disabilities have been greatly exacerbated by the COVID-19 epidemic, which has disrupted test- taking locations, closed schools and limited access to school counselors,” said Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman, who issued the injunction.

The lawsuit was filed by Public Counsel on the behalf of a group of students and advocacy groups that argued the tests were inequitable, particularly against students with disabilities.

The UC Board of Regents, agreeing that the tests were biased on the base of race and income, voted in May to phase out the SAT and ACT over the next five years. However, many campuses had still allowed the class of 2021 and 2022 to submit test scores. This is no longer possible.

“I honestly think we should get rid of standardized tests,” junior Kaitlin To said. “They illustrate a lot about class and race inequality, and hopefully this year shows they are not needed in college admissions.”

UC appealed the ruling on Sept. 9, saying in a statement that the reasoning used by Seligman could be extended to any admissions criteria not equally available to all students. This would mean, according to UC officials, that many students would lose the opportunity to best showcase themselves.

Regardless of recent efforts to change standardized testing requirements, taking the tests at all this year proved difficult. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, nearly 45% of test registrations for the SAT were cancelled in August, with more cancellations in March, May and June. A test has been added for Sept. 26, currently set to be administered in person for an expected high number of test-takers.

“I was supposed to take the ACT in April, and I was prepping a lot,” senior Virginia Crook said. “When it got cancelled, it was very stressful since I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to take it.”

Meanwhile, students will still have the opportunity to take the PSAT, the National Merit qualifying test given to over 3.5 million students annually. Northwood plans to offer the test to juniors on Oct. 17, assuming the hybrid school model is in place. Students can register for the PSAT by purchasing the test on the Northwood Webstore for $18, starting Sept. 28.