The University of California (UC) Board of Regents said on Nov. 18 that standardized tests will be eliminated from the public university system’s admission process, without any alternative exam to be adopted in the foreseeable future.
The board originally approved in May 2020 the removal of standardized testing—for applications for admission to the nine UC colleges—and planned to find an alternative test to replace the ACT and SAT by 2024.
During the board’s meeting on Nov. 18, the regents reached a consensus to keep exams out of admission requirements for a longer time, in favor of practices that promote educational equity and quality.
“UC will continue to practice test-free admissions now and into the future,” Michael Brown, UC provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said in a statement.
In addition, to help students build a successful college path, the UC system will strengthen its relationship with K-12 schools, Brown said.
Cecilia Estolano, chair of the board, said the regents aren’t feeling comfortable using any assessment in the admission process. She added that the decision to remove standardized testing is “significant” because it set a standard that made a difference nationally.
Bob Schaeffer, executive director of FairTest: The National Center for Fair & Open Testing, told the Los Angeles Times that UC is becoming “a national model for test-free admissions.”
He said that in the past two years, many more schools are going test-free in their admissions process.
Alvin Lyu, a fourth-year chemical biology student at the University of California—Berkeley, told The Epoch Times the board’s decision is “a fair move” as students have many more challenges due to the pandemic.
He added that it is best to have the ACT and SAT scores optional so that high school students with lower grade point averages can use them as a booster in the admission process.
Helen Tan, an international student studying statistics at the University of California—Los Angeles, said removing the SAT and ACT can affect the number of applicants.
“If [the UC schools] don’t require [standardized tests], [they] will definitely attract more students who really like the UCs. But there will be more people taking AP and honors classes to make them a more competitive candidate,” Tan told The Epoch Times.
Bardia Kaseb, a first-year transfer student from Santa Monica College, now studying history at the University California—Irvine (UCI), said the admission process is fairer to the incoming freshmen without considering testing scores. He didn’t need to submit an SAT or ACT score when he transferred to UCI.
“It’s a good thing. It makes it equal between freshmen and transfer students,” Kaseb told The Epoch Times.
Meanwhile, Hannah Duong, a freshman studying business administration at UCI, said standardized testing is a necessary way of measuring everyone. However, she said the SAT and ACT aren’t necessarily representative of a student’s intellect, but only of “what they know.”
“There might be really smart people but they go to schools that aren’t very good,” Duong told The Epoch Times. “There should be a different way to measure that kind of thing.”
Benjia Zhang, a first-year electrical engineering student at the University of California—San Diego, said the UC should keep the SAT and ACT standardized tests.
“Even [though] it is not 100 percent fair to all students, it is the closest thing we can get,” Zhang told The Epoch Times.