University Of California Drops SAT And ACT Requirements, Claims Tests Are Discriminatory

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Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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The University of California (UC) board of regents voted Thursday to phase out standardized testing requirements in college admissions. The vote included plans to drop requirements for SAT and ACT scores and replace them with a new application for UC schools by 2025.

The unanimous 23 to 0 vote affirmed a proposal made last month by UC President Janet Napolitano, according to Fox Business. The UC system had previously discussed the idea in 2019, with some arguing that the tests are discriminatory and contribute to inequalities in education.

The debate over standardized testing has largely centered on claims that the tests have a racial and wealth bias, creating an unfair barrier to admissions because students of certain economic and ethnic backgrounds have lower scores on average. A February 2020 report from the UC Academic Senate, which mentions “diversity” 73 times, recommended loosening the SAT and ACT requirements in order to “address diversity and compensate for inequality.”

Last year, a coalition of advocacy and student groups even sued the UC system, demanding that UC schools drop the SAT and ACT requirements because it discriminates against poor and minority students. “These tests are incredibly sensitive to socioeconomic status and race and have nothing to say about the individual,” said Alisa Hartz, a lawyer representing one of the advocacy groups.

BERKELEY, CA - MARCH 04: Students at UC Berkeley carry signs as they march through campus during a national day of action against funding cuts and tuition increases March 4, 2010 in Berkeley, California. Students across the country are walking out of classes and holding demonstrations against massive tuition increases and funding cuts to college universities. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Students at UC Berkeley protest the university after tuition policies were changed (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The decision is reflective of a broader trend on American college campuses. Colleges have invested hundreds of millions of dollars on diversity programs despite the fact that most students say these programs have little to no impact on them, and professors push concepts like “white privilege” and “white fragility” on their students. (RELATED: California Trains Professors To Avoid ‘Microaggressions’)

UC Regent Cecilia Estolano appears to agree with the idea that “white privilege” can explain why there are gaps in academic success and standardized test scores. After the board of regents voted to drop the standardized testing requirements, Estolano expressed her satisfaction with the decision, saying that “the test is a proxy for privilege.”