UC System Suspends Testing Requirements for Fall 2021

Washington Post just announced that UC system is suspending testing requirements.


https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/response-covid-19.html says:

This page also has information on how Pass / No Pass grading for this spring and summer courses will be considered for those who will apply to UC and those who have been admitted to UC contingent on in-progress course work.

@ucbalumnus . . . it sounds to me like the UC is seeing this as an opportunity to bring about testing’s end as a requirement, something they’ve sought for awhile. So if they get a consensus from other colleges, then UC will run with it.

They say that this is a one year thing, not a change in policy.

But you can bet that they will be doing analytics on admissions and student success rates over the next several years in order to get information on the effects of test optional admission from this “forced experiment”.

Right. . . but they also need other colleges to remove the requirement for the 2021 year for UC to follow by removing it for all subsequent years. And by UC shutting it down now doesn’t doesn’t allow a good number of safer ways to take the test.

Either way, UC would need some really selective colleges to remove the requirement in subsequent years, because what good would not requiring the testing be if effectively every other selective college still required it? Numerous apps to UC would still have students reporting the test(s).

I think it’s a little too early to put this information out. There are some students who’ve already taken the test(s) and there are possible ways around staying safe in the pandemic – hopefully the curve of new cases will have entered its downside (edit…) at least.

Why would UC care about other “really selective” colleges going test-optional or not?

Some other colleges chose to be test-optional for their own reasons, disregarding what other colleges chose to do with SAT/ACT tests.

The only other colleges that the UC system may care about with respect to a permanent test-optional policy would be the CSU system, since there is some motivation to have the base requirements not be too different (the CSUs calculate a formula from recalculated GPA and SAT or ACT score to determine admission within categories by campus, major, state and local residency).

In any case, this is a one year only change.

@ucbalumnus . . . I’m thinking because the vast majority of students would still be taking the boards. I don’t know the percentage of those applying only to UC, but I would think it would be small.

“Students applying for fall 2021 are not precluded from taking standardized tests (SAT or ACT) and sending scores if they are able. Doing so can support their statewide UC eligibility, application for certain scholarships, and help them fulfill some University graduation requirements.” Based on this information it sounds like incoming freshman should take the standarized test because not taking the test would make them ineligible for some scholarships and make their application look inferior when compared to someone who submits test scores. UC should not accept any scores because doing so caters to the more wealthy population who can pay top dollar for college couselors who have been working with them on their application and they continue to get tutoring help online during this pandemic. If they are going to level the field they need to eliminate all testing.

@plquality . . . so in other words for 2021, there shouldn’t be any place on the UC application to input an SAT and/or an ACT score? What about prospective engineering and CS students? Are you proposing that UC should admit to these programs blind of any ability (inclusive of the SATII’s) to do math and physics?

I realize that there is a pretty good correlation between wealth and scores. But until UC puts something into place that would be a good proxy for the boards that includes evening the playing field for all with respect to wealth, they’ll have to stick with them. The engineering, physical and life sciences, especially, require those who are able to pick up on concepts and ideas that are too complex and difficult for the vast majority of people, even for the rich.

To become a doctor, one is going to have to take the MCAT, which is myriad times harder than the SAT I then take the medical boards after residency which is even more complex than the MCATs. Are you proposing to eliminate these?

And there are ways around having to pay loads of money in preparation of the SAT, but it does take a great amount of dedication. A student can get, say, eight copies of tests, time him- herself in a simulated setting, and try to improve upon his/her scores as he/she progresses through them.

There are books from the public library one can pick up to improve one’s score on SAT/ACT preparation.

There are patterns to the math problems, that are similar from test to test, which can learned.

Doing well on the EBRW portion of the SAT is dependent on an ability to read and comprehend material, so one has to practice writing and to be someone who reads.

Because of these, there have been many self-driven students who didn’t have the funds to pay for an expense prep course who scored really well on their own by putting these into practice.

Furthermore, UC has found and interpolated from the data, that grades would decline and time to graduate would approach six to seven years if the boards were eliminated, including a large increase in those dropping out. Every student who drops out is at a great cost to the state.

Honestly, I don’t see a way to eliminate standardized testing.

I get it that taking expensive courses can up your standardized test courses. Conversely, not taking courses doesn’t mean you can’t achieve a high test score. Most of the kids I know who did exceptionally well on the SAT and ACT did nothing but self study or even took it cold.