UC Says Goodbye To Standardized Tests — Will More Schools Follow?

Students at Sather Gate at the University of California-Berkeley (© 2017 UC Regents, all rights reserved)

UC Says Goodbye To Standardized Admissions Tests

The University of California is now officially test-free in admissions for its 10 campuses.

The university’s board of regents made the decision to end the possibility of standardized testing alternatives to the SAT and ACT, both of which are no longer considered in admissions decisions.

“UC will continue to practice test-free admissions now and into the future,” UC Provost Michael Brown stated to the regents.


Proponents of test-free admissions argue that high school grades offer a better admissions tool for colleges (as opposed to standardized tests) and allow for less bias when it comes to aspects such as race and income.

“The UCs prepare California’s future leaders in academia, in industry, and in public service,” says Mo Hyman, executive director of College Access Plan, in a press release. “It is our hope that this agreement helps UC officials to align with the system’s vision to recruit and educate California’s best and brightest from all backgrounds. We also hope it causes public institutions everywhere to rethink their relationship with The College Board and reliance on its products, which perpetuate privilege and exacerbate racism in institutions of higher learning.”


Experts say that the decision by the UC system to go test-free is a monumental one.

“When you have the most prestigious university system in the nation’s most populous state functioning without test scores and developing ways to do admissions fairly and accurately without them, it’s very significant,” Bob Schaeffer, executive director of FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing, tells the Los Angeles Times. “UC already is and increasingly will become a national model for test-free admissions.”

According to Schaeffer, the number of colleges that don’t require testing in admissions has increased to 1,815 today from 1,075 two years ago. That’s in large part, he says, because of the pandemic.

While it’s too soon to tell whether other schools will officially follow in the footsteps of the UC system, it’s clear that standardized testing will no longer be an obstacle for applicants in California.

“We know we’re dealing with generations of educational inequity baked in discrimination, baked in structural impediments to our students,” Board Chair Cecilia Estolano tells the Los Angeles Times. “If we’re going to continue to try to expand educational access in an equitable way … we have to provide the supports to enable our students to succeed.”

Sources: Los Angeles Times, Public Counsel

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