Student prepares to score high on the SAT and ACT for UC college applications, just to learn that the scores will no longer be utilized. (Ryen Hernandez)
Student prepares to score high on the SAT and ACT for UC college applications, just to learn that the scores will no longer be utilized.

Ryen Hernandez

A Bittersweet Goodbye to the SATs

October 9, 2020

On Aug. 31, California Alameda County Superior Court judge, Brad Seligman, ruled that the University of California school system must suspend all use of SAT and ACT scores in admissions and scholarships until the fall of 2024, according to edsource.org. The court also ended the “test-optional” policy that six of the nine UC’s school systems had previously put in place. According to edsource.org, the “test-optional” policy unfairly benefits students who can come across a testing site in the middle of COVID-19. The suspension of standardized testing leads to both pros and cons of a college applicant.

Pros

The new ruling that UC campuses must stop all use of SATs and ACTs scores in the college admissions and scholarship process guarantees a short-term fix of equity in the college admissions system. Receiving a competitive score on the SAT and the ACT has been a crucial part of college admissions. Yet, the SAT and the ACT are arguably not considered the best way to measure one’s skill set needed for college, as it creates unfair advantages and doesn’t represent an applicant’s test-taking skills to their fullest, according to nytimes.com.

The court ruling suspended standardized testing for applicants due to the new challenges surrounding families with the presence of COVID-19. This supports that students in low-income families who find it difficult to afford the test or study materials won’t suffer a disadvantage relating to SAT or ACT scores in college admissions.

For most students with a disability, there has never been a fair playing field for college admissions. Due to COVID-19 disrupting the college admissions process, students who are unable to receive accommodations due to a disability are at a greater disadvantage than before when it comes to the admissions and scholarship process for college. Students with disabilities would not receive any accommodated testing. If these students did have the opportunity to submit their test scores for college admissions and scholarships, “their chances obtaining necessary testing accommodations are virtually non-existent,” said Judge Seligman, according to edsource.org.

Cons

Yet, due to the immediate suspension of SAT and ACT scores in college admissions, those who have already taken the tests are at a loss, as this decision negatively impacts students whose scores would positively impact their applications or their chances for a scholarship. Some students with a lower GPA were planning on relying on their high SAT and ACT scores to redeem their college applications or receive scholarships to pay for college.

The immediate suspension now leaves students little time to improve their application in new ways, as their SAT and ACT scores are now no longer a key factor in admissions. Colleges will now make application decisions based on other factors such as the Personal Insight Questions, the difficulty of classes students have taken, and the student’s GPA like never before. This adds new pressure towards those areas for students to excel in.

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