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University of California eliminates SAT, ACT exams from admissions process

kenny

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"In a groundbreaking shift in higher education, the UC Board of Regents on Thursday eliminated the use of the SAT and ACT in applications for admission by California high school students to the system’s nine undergraduate campuses.

By a unanimous vote — and after six hours of debate — the regents supported president Janet Napolitano’s proposal to phase out the test that has been used in the college admissions process for a century.

Napolitano cited as her reasoning “the correlation of the SAT and the ACT to the socio-economic level of the student, and in some case, the ethnicity of the student.”

Standardized tests already have been removed as a requirement for UC admission for the fall of 2021 due to coronavirus and the disruption of the testing calendar.

The regents’ decision effectively carries that “test optional” existence forward into the fall of 2022 before phasing out the SATs and ACTs permanently.

“It is an incredible step in the right direction toward aligning our admissions policy with the broad-based values that the university has identified,” said John Perez, chair of the regents.

Because of the size and reputation of the UC, the decision could have lasting consequences nationally for the future of standardized tests in the college admissions process.

“The University of California is one of the best institutions in the world, so whatever decision they make will be extraordinarily influential,” Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president at the American Council on Education, a trade group, told the New York Times. “Whatever U.C. does will have ripple effects across American higher education, particularly at leading public universities.”

In her remarks to the regents Thursday, Carol Christ, chancellor of the Berkeley campus, argued against using the SAT and ACT. ... "

For the rest of the story ...

 
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kenny

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Only higher income families could afford the cost of test preparation, and then the test itself.
Plus those kids went to better schools all their lives because they lived in higher-income neighborhoods with higher prop taxes, which usually result in better-funded public schools.

This system kept the rich rich, and the poor poor.

Not fair, not right. :knockout:
 

yssie

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> Napolitano cited as her reasoning “the correlation of the SAT and the ACT to the socio-economic level of the student, and in some case, the ethnicity of the student.”

I wonder if there’s a correlation between SAT/ACT score and success at university, eliminating all other considerations?

The problem with using personal statements as a primary vehicle for college admissions is that universities are intended to be institutes of academic advancement first and foremost. Academic capability matters.

The problem with using GPA as a primary vehicle for college admissions is that outside the AP system, there’s no standardization whatsoever. One school’s “Advanced biology” might be another’s “Introductory” class. One school’s “A” might be another school’s “B+”. One school’s valedictorian might be middle of the road in another school. And we certainly don’t want universities to start ranking schools rather than students as individuals.

How should institutes of academic advancement select their students?

The thing about that SAT prep price stat that’s commonly cited... A prep course can most likely help a student raise a 1000 to a 1200. A prep course is extremely unlikely to help a student raise a 1300 to a 1590. Money can’t guarantee those elite SAT scores... And mediocre test scores won’t get anyone into prestigious programmes at top tier universities without some Other Compelling Reason(s).

Some form of standardization really seems like a necessary evil. Socioeconomics hugely impact any standardization efforts. I don’t have answers but I don’t feel eliminating standardized testing is going to be any improvement.
 
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kenny

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IMO all students who meet some minimum standard should go into the same pool of qualified applicants.
But then a lottery picks which of those students gets admitted.
 

yssie

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IMO all students who meet some minimum standard should go into the same pool of qualified applicants.
But then a lottery picks which of those students gets admitted.
Yikes. Then you risk denying those who’ve worked hardest. Those who’ve overcome odds stacked against them.

And socioeconomic factors will still impact whether or not a given individual meets those threshold minimums.
 

nala

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My school district offers free SAT prep classes. Very few students (14 of 640 seniors in my school enrolled, while two other schools cancelled theirs because they only had 3 and 7 kids enroll) elect to enroll in these, even when they are offered during the summer. Why? Because many have figured out from previous students who were admitted into the UC system that their low SAT scores didn’t really matter, because in my district, the UC’s select students based on location in context. Many of them write their personal UC insight questions without putting much effort and thought into them, because, you guessed it, those don’t really matter either. So really, eliminating this requirement will not have much of an impact on my kids. The UC’s compare class rank, place some importance on extracurricular activities next, and lastly they read the essays to look for evidence of resilience? It’s hard to tell, given the range of essays I’ve read through.
So what happens to my kids after they are admitted into these UC’s? Some flunk out. Some thrive. Sink or swim. Resilience is the best indicator of their future success. But it’s hard to gauge resilience in the application process.
 
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rocks

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[/QUOTE]
> Napolitano cited as her reasoning “the correlation of the SAT and the ACT to the socio-economic level of the student, and in some case, the ethnicity of the student.”

I wonder if there’s a correlation between SAT/ACT score and success at university, eliminating all other considerations?

The problem with using personal statements as a primary vehicle for college admissions is that universities are intended to be institutes of academic advancement first and foremost. Academic capability matters.

The problem with using GPA as a primary vehicle for college admissions is that outside the AP system, there’s no standardization whatsoever. One school’s “Advanced biology” might be another’s “Introductory” class. One school’s “A” might be another school’s “B+”. One school’s valedictorian might be middle of the road in another school. And we certainly don’t want universities to start ranking schools rather than students as individuals.

How should institutes of academic advancement select their students?

The thing about that SAT prep price stat that’s commonly cited... A prep course can most likely help a student raise a 1000 to a 1200. A prep course is extremely unlikely to help a student raise a 1300 to a 1590. Money can’t guarantee those elite SAT scores... And mediocre test scores won’t get anyone into prestigious programmes at top tier universities without some Other Compelling Reason(s).

Some form of standardization really seems like a necessary evil. Socioeconomics hugely impact any standardization efforts. I don’t have answers but I don’t feel eliminating standardized testing is going to be any improvement.
In the US, elite universities and colleges have always ranked secondary schools; they call top schools from which they recruit “feeder schools”. Most of the elite colleges and universities to some extent already curve gpa based on the difficulty of the curriculum. College counselors at these secondary schools (both public and private) have relationships with the admissions staff at elite universities.

More important, we need to set students up to succeed, not fail. Admitting an unqualified applicant serves no one. Yssie is right. SAT prep can significantly improve a mediocre score; it won’t increase a score from 1100 to the 1450 to 1550 needed for an elite school. Good SAT scores are an indicator, but not a guaranty of success.

Another issue to be considered is that massive schools like UCLA and Berkeley (Michigan, chapel hill etc) get a huge number of applications. It’s almost impossible to rely entirely on qualitative submissions. How will they do it?
 

eh613c

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Removing the SAT / ACT requirement will not change the way the UC system’s admission practices. In the past several years, more foreign students were admitted in the UC system than California students. This change will encourage more international students to apply decreasing the chances of California students being admitted. I don’t come from a wealthy family, I’m a byproduct of public school, worked during high school to afford a SAT prep class, was in the top 10 of my class and didn’t get accepted in the UCs. In fact 8 of us didn’t get accepted but we got accepted at private universities in the east coast. In the early 2000s there was a class action lawsuit against the UC system for their admission process but I don’t know what came of it. Looks like nothing has changed in 20 years.
 

rocks

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Removing the SAT / ACT requirement will not change the way the UC system’s admission practices. In the past several years, more foreign students were admitted in the UC system than California students. This change will encourage more international students to apply decreasing the chances of California students being admitted. I don’t come from a wealthy family, I’m a byproduct of public school, worked during high school to afford a SAT prep class, was in the top 10 of my class and didn’t get accepted in the UCs. In fact 8 of us didn’t get accepted but we got accepted at private universities in the east coast. In the early 2000s there was a class action lawsuit against the UC system for their admission process but I don’t know what came of it. Looks like nothing has changed in 20 years.


So wrong on so many levels. The top tier public universities are intended to serve resident tax payers. That said.....many top schools accept a significant number of foreign students because they pay full fare. It isn’t uncommon for middle income and lower income qualified students to be awarded significant aid, making it cheaper to attend private schools.
 

lovedogs

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Removing the SAT / ACT requirement will not change the way the UC system’s admission practices. In the past several years, more foreign students were admitted in the UC system than California students. This change will encourage more international students to apply decreasing the chances of California students being admitted. I don’t come from a wealthy family, I’m a byproduct of public school, worked during high school to afford a SAT prep class, was in the top 10 of my class and didn’t get accepted in the UCs. In fact 8 of us didn’t get accepted but we got accepted at private universities in the east coast. In the early 2000s there was a class action lawsuit against the UC system for their admission process but I don’t know what came of it. Looks like nothing has changed in 20 years.
This simply is not true.
 

kenny

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So wrong on so many levels. The top tier public universities are intended to serve resident tax payers. That said.....many top schools accept a significant number of foreign students because they pay full fare. It isn’t uncommon for middle income and lower income qualified students to be awarded significant aid, making it cheaper to attend private schools.
I don't like the us vs. them mentality.
Gangs do that.

One planet, one people.
 

kenny

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I’m sorry, I can’t agree. The state university systems are supported by resident taxes. Their first responsibility should be to qualified state residents.
Non-residents compensate for taxes by paying higher tuition.
A wash.

Besides, I'd rather be a sharing American than a selfish one.
I served in the US military honorably for 6 years of active duty.
I'm a patriot, but I find nationalism to be ugly.

Screen Shot 2020-05-23 at 6.47.04 PM.png
 
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Mekp

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This is so interesting to me.

Here in Canada the SAT isn't really a thing. Schools don't normally require them. My daughter is homeschooled and the university she wants to attend prefers (but doesn't require) homeschooled students to have a SAT score. So, we are playing the game and getting 1:1 tutoring for her in preparation of her writing. This is all new to me.

I can't imagine entrance to an undergraduate program being so dependent on a single test as the norm.
 

voce

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> Napolitano cited as her reasoning “the correlation of the SAT and the ACT to the socio-economic level of the student, and in some case, the ethnicity of the student.”

I wonder if there’s a correlation between SAT/ACT score and success at university, eliminating all other considerations?

The problem with using personal statements as a primary vehicle for college admissions is that universities are intended to be institutes of academic advancement first and foremost. Academic capability matters.

The problem with using GPA as a primary vehicle for college admissions is that outside the AP system, there’s no standardization whatsoever. One school’s “Advanced biology” might be another’s “Introductory” class. One school’s “A” might be another school’s “B+”. One school’s valedictorian might be middle of the road in another school. And we certainly don’t want universities to start ranking schools rather than students as individuals.

How should institutes of academic advancement select their students?

The thing about that SAT prep price stat that’s commonly cited... A prep course can most likely help a student raise a 1000 to a 1200. A prep course is extremely unlikely to help a student raise a 1300 to a 1590. Money can’t guarantee those elite SAT scores... And mediocre test scores won’t get anyone into prestigious programmes at top tier universities without some Other Compelling Reason(s).

Some form of standardization really seems like a necessary evil. Socioeconomics hugely impact any standardization efforts. I don’t have answers but I don’t feel eliminating standardized testing is going to be any improvement.
I feel the same way. I used to be involved in interviewing students at my alma mater, an institution that had something like a 6% acceptance rate back when it took standardized test scores into admissions decisions. They made the move before the UC Regents to also abolish standardized testing. I don't know how much of the decision had to do with the pandemic.

The main reason I quit was because they were having alumni interview their entire pool of applicants, regardless of where those applicants placed in the other metrics. It was too many students. They had me interview two dozen or so applicants and only accepted 1. I had students I interviewed ask me and try this and that to have a dialogue with the Admissions Office, to no avail. All the interviews were eating up too much of my time, and the main thing was that the students all thought they were pre-selected and I was the maker or breaker of the admissions decision when nothing was further from the truth. I hated hearing their disappointment and desperation after interviews. I think given students' expectations for the interviews, it's a waste of time for both the students and for myself to blindly interview everyone who applies regardless of the likelihood of the student's chances of getting in.

Back when I had interviewed as a high school student myself, the interviews were only given to promising candidates.

The removal of standardized testing as a part of the admissions process encourages everyone to apply regardless of whether they are prepared enough or not for the rigorous coursework and pace of learning at the elite institutions, which, in my opinion, as good as the UC system is, the pace of learning there is not particularly rigorous. I fear schools will be flooded with way too many applications in the effort to be as inclusive as they can--this will increase profoundly the amount of work to sift through the applicants to find the ones they want. I also have doubts as to whether the admissions decisions will actually be an improvement.

Before the removal of standardized tests, a private university might have to sift through 20000 applicants who took standardized tests and fall within their desired score range to admit 1000 students. With the testing requirements removed, they might get 50000 applicants instead of 20000 as before. Are they going to invest twice as many man-hours to properly evaluate everyone who applies? Or, as I suspect, they're going to spend only half as much time to consider each individual candidate for admission?

I think the UC system was very dependent on test scores, and did not properly consider all attributes of the applicant. They had too many applicants and not enough people/time to evaluate them all. Elite private universities have always been about more than the single (or handful) test score(s).

I doubt the removal of standardized testing improves the admissions process in general. For people to benefit from education, they need to not only be admitted, but also need to complete the curriculum and graduate with a degree.

With the removal of standardized testing, more people from low income backgrounds are likely to be admitted. However, there will be a higher drop out rate, and for the people who are admitted and have to drop out because they are not on the same level of academically preparedness, it's actually a disservice to admit them. They'd be out of whatever tuition they paid.
 

bludiva

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if i remember correctly the tests were proven to correlate w/ first year GPA and that's about it.... (sorry i didn't read the whole thread in case this was discussed). they are just a racket that the testing companies are highly motivated to keep going imho. also another way that social inequity is perpetuated b/c not everyone can afford or knows that there are prep courses available.
 

Bayek

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My son had high SAT scores, therefore we was allowed to attend any Texas college except UT one had to have been in the top 10%, my son was in the 53rd percentile at his high school. He never took SAT prep classes, as it was - he was a mediocre and lazy student, never in the gifted category. my older son had above average SAT scores, he took them 2x and raised his score 100 pts by not answering questions, he's a schemer, his class rank was in the 97th percentile, yes 97% of his high school class had a higher GPA after 4 years than he did.

So segue 10 years and 15 years later.

younger son; Computer Software Engineer with BBA in CIS, making well over 125k a year in the big apple.

older son; Java design programmer BS in Comp Sci, minor in math making over 100k in Atown.

So the moral of my story is that SATs can help or hurt a kid. I think we need entry exams, but not every student who does meh on the SATs will end up in a meh job and not every student who does well will be going to a top ten college and ivy league. We as parents are too involved in our kids lives. period.
 

KaeKae

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Four years too late for us o_O

DD2 just graduated from a UC. Not Berkeley or UCLA, but a great school, nonetheless. Still, it could be interesting to see if she might have been accepted into one of the UCs ranked higher than her own.

On the other hand, she loved her school, and did very well while there, managing to graduate in three years, so no complaints for her.

I do wonder just how the schools will distinguish between applicants now. Time will tell.
 

1ofakind

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DD and a friend each took an SAT prep course. The friend paid $5000 + for his course. DD got a DIY prep course for <$50.
They both put in the time/work and their scores improved by exactly the same %. The friend was really annoyed about that.


Point being...it's not true that you have to be rich to do an SAT/ACT prep course. You just have to do the work.
 
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Rubymal

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My school district offers free SAT prep classes. Very few students (14 of 640 seniors in my school enrolled, while two other schools cancelled theirs because they only had 3 and 7 kids enroll) elect to enroll in these, even when they are offered during the summer. Why? Because many have figured out from previous students who were admitted into the UC system that their low SAT scores didn’t really matter, because in my district, the UC’s select students based on location in context. Many of them write their personal UC insight questions without putting much effort and thought into them, because, you guessed it, those don’t really matter either. So really, eliminating this requirement will not have much of an impact on my kids. The UC’s compare class rank, place some importance on extracurricular activities next, and lastly they read the essays to look for evidence of resilience? It’s hard to tell, given the range of essays I’ve read through.
So what happens to my kids after they are admitted into these UC’s? Some flunk out. Some thrive. Sink or swim. Resilience is the best indicator of their future success. But it’s hard to gauge resilience in the application process.
Oof, that makes me sad to hear. I was always terrible at standardized testing. We weren't wealthy by any means growing up, my dad worked but my mom was a stay at home. I was enrolled in a prep course but it didn't do wonders- sure my score was raised but it wasn't like it was night and day. I spent a ton of time on my personal statement. I was rejected by my number 1 choice, but I didn't give up. I wrote an essay to appeal. It was rejected. I picked myself back up the same day I got the rejection, applied for a JC. I met regularly with the university's counselor to keep myself on track for the transfer guarantee program. After two years, I got into my first pick. So it wasn't the most direct path, but I still ended up where I wanted to go due to perseverance and not taking no for an answer.
 

Rubymal

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Removing the SAT / ACT requirement will not change the way the UC system’s admission practices. In the past several years, more foreign students were admitted in the UC system than California students. This change will encourage more international students to apply decreasing the chances of California students being admitted. I don’t come from a wealthy family, I’m a byproduct of public school, worked during high school to afford a SAT prep class, was in the top 10 of my class and didn’t get accepted in the UCs. In fact 8 of us didn’t get accepted but we got accepted at private universities in the east coast. In the early 2000s there was a class action lawsuit against the UC system for their admission process but I don’t know what came of it. Looks like nothing has changed in 20 years.
I was in the top 5% of my class. But my highschool was very small, a charter and most people had never heard of it. There was a guaranteed spot for me at a UC. I think both Riverside and Merced called me but I declined. I was still gunning for my number 1.
 

kb1gra

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I disagree with dropping standardized testing.

I do agree with the statement that international students at state schools are a huge problem. You see, state schools aren't just supported by income taxes; they're supported in a million other ways by the local population. If they never give out any tuition breaks because 97% of the population is paying full freight, out of state tuition, then why are they even a public university receiving public funding?

Yes, I went to a school like this. It accepted only the 2% in-state students required by the state law to continue to receive funding. The other 98% were out-of-state or international. Very qualified in state applicants could not get admitted.

I have no dog in the UC system fight. But I think all spots should need to be filled by those meeting in-state qualifications before others are accepted.

After all, I can't call up Boston Latin as a resident of western Massachusetts and be allowed to go there, even if I am the best student in the country, unless my parents live in Boston proper. That is a public school - but that doesn't mean the global public. It means the local public who fund it.
 

voce

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Just as an aside, I feel really bad for the folks whose livelihood depends on tutoring for standardized tests. A place I used to work part-time at used to specialize in one-on-one tutoring for academic subjects and standardized tests. I'm afraid to ask how they're holding up, but I don't think they're doing too well at the moment. It was a family-owned business, where both parents and a son were working at the same place, then the pandemic hit.
 

violet3

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I'm a professor at a state university and I support this decision. Standardized testing is a racket, and I did well on standardized testing when I had to do it.
 

voce

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The most efficient way of doing state university admissions without standardized test scores would be to put them in GPA bins and do a lottery. Do state universities even read recommendations anymore?
 
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