Judge Rules UC to Drop Use of SAT and ACT for Admission and Scholarships

Alameda county superior judge cites students with disabilities, called the use of standardized test scores “broadly biased”


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Graphic by Abraham Navarro/SAC.Media.

Under a preliminary injunction issued by an Alameda County Superior Court Judge, the University of California must suspend the use of SAT and ACT test scores for admissions and scholarships immediately. The ruling cited that the use of standardized test scores are broadly biased and is unfavorable to students with disabilities. 

Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman stated that his Monday ruling showed plenty of cause to stop tests immediately, because many applicants with disabilities had no access to test-taking sites or legal accommodations required during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seligman also stated that students with disabilities are facing “barriers” with most schools being closed down, such as limited access to school counselors.

Seligman said that there is little to no data which existed to prove that tests were even valid or reliable indicators for future college performance. “The use of SAT and ACT is an injunction that will affect all California applicants to the UC system.” 

Los Angeles attorney Mark Rosenburg, who directed a lawsuit under Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law, commented on the fact that these tests are racially biased. Research seems to support that the SAT and ACT have disadvantaged many students of color, students with disabilities and those from low-income families.

Although Rosenburg had stated that he tends to go after universities that do not follow these orders, a UC statement disagreed with this court decision, stating that, “an injunction may interfere with the university’s efforts to implement an appropriate and comprehensive admissions policies and its ability to attract and enroll students of diverse backgrounds and experiences.”

ACT officials have claimed that they have offered accommodations to students with disabilities, even through the coronavirus pandemic. The UC Board of Regents voted unanimously to remove standardized testing in May of 2020, and concluded that they were in fact biased to many students. Regents have also given the flexibility of campuses to drop tests immediately. UC Berkeley, UC Irvine and UC Santa Cruz have decided to drop SAT/ACT requirements altogether.

Undergraduate campuses like UCLA have considered scores only for those who submit them. UC campuses will begin accepting applications for the 2021-2022 academic year on Nov. 1. Several campuses indicated that they intend on giving a first review based on factors aside from test scores, while providing a second review based on scores for those who have them as well.