Certain groups, including the Compton Unified School District, are seeking to ban the University of California schools from considering applicants’ SAT and ACT scores in the admissions process. And why? Because these groups essentially argue that these standardized tests unfairly advantage the affluent who can afford great test prep. Indeed in a demand letter sent this week to the Regents of the University of California, the counsel for groups including the Compton Unified School District, College Access Plan, College Seekers, Community Coalition, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, and Little Manila Rising deemed the consideration of SAT and ACT test scores to be discriminatory.
Groups Demand Discontinuation of Consideration of SAT and ACT Scores in UC Admissions Process
As these groups argued in their letter to the Regents of the University of California, “Our individual clients are well-qualified students who have been subject to unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, disability, and wealth as a result of the requirement that applicants to the University of California submit either SAT or ACT scores in order to be considered for admission to any campus. We write to demand that the University of California immediately stop this discriminatory practice…As the State’s foremost public institution of higher education, the University of California must, and should, furnish all students equal opportunity to access its benefits. Its continued use of the SAT and ACT — descendants of discriminatory IQ tests that pose unlawful barriers to underrepresented students — is fundamentally at odds with its obligation to provide access to all qualified students.”
We Support Their Position, But Don’t See This Bringing About Change in UC Admissions Process
We fundamentally do not disagree with these groups’ position that the SAT and ACT unfairly advantage the privileged. Of course these tests unfairly advantage the privileged! We also believe that the University of California schools would, like all universities, greatly benefit from increased diversity. But do we envision that this letter — or the proposed lawsuit brought by these groups against the University of California schools will lead to the discontinuation of the consideration of SAT and ACT scores in the UC admissions process? No. While we support the spirit of their position, their letter, regrettably, isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Nonetheless, if it further shines a lantern on how the SAT and ACT are exams that unfairly disadvantage underrepresented minorities and low-income young people, then we’re all for it. Our nation’s elite colleges are — without question — greatly enriched by the presence of students from all backgrounds on their campuses.
While you’re here, read about the history of the SAT and ACT at the UC Schools.