UCs Dropping SAT/ACT Benefits Classes 2021 to 2024

While this time of the school year is normally crucial to juniors and seniors in terms of standardized testing for college applications, University of California president Janet Napolitano announced a recent decision including the adoption of a test-blind policy toward the SAT and ACT for UC schools, which provides numerous benefits for students applying to the UC schools.

Students graduating in classes from 2021 and 2024 will be “test blind,” meaning that SAT and ACT scores will not be reviewed as a part of the college application. This decision allows students to shift their focus to school, AP tests and extracurricular activities that are applicable during COVID-19. 

“40% of the variation in students’ SAT/ACT scores is attributable to differences in socioeconomic circumstance,” according to a recent study by Dr. Saul Geiser at the University of California, Berkeley. 

There also exists a correlation between poor, first-generation, Latinx and African American applicants and their test scores acting as a deterrent to the admissions offices.

“Those who grew up financially better off than their peers have access to prep classes with extra material to prepare them for the SAT/ACT,” junior Elizabeth Chung said. The SAT and ACT are there to test students on their capabilities to do math, read literature and analyze data (for ACT), but those who take/took prep classes not only get extra practice but tips and tricks that others may not be fortunate to obtain access to.”

While students may believe that standardized tests scores provide fairness in the admissions process, it only creates greater division.

A study done by professor and former dean of admissions at Bates College, William C. Hiss, discovered that high school grades are a better indicator of academic success and predictor for college readiness. 

“Our society needs people in every discipline with a range of cultural, racial and economic backgrounds in order to maximize its creative potential,” Portola science teacher Ryan Johnson said. “Standardized tests deny opportunities for education to students of color, students with fewer financial resources, students with more home responsibilities and students with disabilities, so they are certainly unfair.” 

With the UC school system going “test-blind,” students should spend more time on other parts of the application, now that there is no additional burden from standardized testing.