The Ivy Coach Daily

January 21, 2021

California Universities Should Take a Bow

Look no further than universities in California to assign credit for so many of the changes implemented this year with regard to the consideration of testing in college admissions (photo credit: Alton).

If we had to pick one party responsible for all the blows suffered this year by The College Board, the maker of the SAT, AP Tests, and the now defunct SAT Subject Tests, as well by ACT, we’d look no further than the cluster of universities in the state of California. These schools — from the public University of California schools to the private California Institute of Technology have helped usher in significant change as it relates to the consideration of standardized test scores in college admissions. These schools seek to admit applicants who are going to create enduring, positive change in our world. Well, they themselves have helped create the change they wish to see in our world.

California Schools Led the Charge Against Testing in Admissions

As Teresa Watanabe and Gina Agrawal report for The Los Angeles Times in a piece entitled “New blow to SAT empire shows California’s key role in diminishing college admissions tests,” “One by one, the California blows against the SAT and ACT kept coming. First UC Berkeley announced last May that it wanted to disregard SAT and ACT test scores in admissions decisions for some students in a pilot study. The same day, University of California regents unanimously voted to phase out the tests over five years. After that, Caltech nixed them for at least two years. And in September, a California state judge ordered UC to immediately suspend all use of test scores in admissions. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic leveled its own hits — upending the testing environment nationwide by severely limiting testing opportunities…But when the College Board announced Tuesday that it was scrapping the SAT subject tests and optional essays to ’reduce and simplify demands on students,’ amid the pandemic, testing experts nationwide pointed to California as a prime accelerator in crippling this mainstay of the college admissions process for millions of students over the last half century.”

A Salute to the California Schools for Ushering in Change

Without these moves by universities in California and by the California judge, would SAT Subject Tests be no more? Would the SAT and ACT be optional at many universities? Maybe, maybe not. It’s hard to tell since a confluence of factors — most notably the COVID-19 pandemic — influenced the rapidly changing standardized testing policies this admissions cycle. But that doesn’t mean credit shouldn’t be awarded where credit is due and that credit belongs to educational leaders out in California who sought to create the change they wish to see in admissions. So kudos to them on all their successes this year! Just because testing policies have been in place for decades doesn’t mean these same testing policies need to be in place for decades to come.

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