Equitable Admissions:

Ending the Reliance on Standardized Testing

For decades, the SAT and ACT have been tools that exclude talented low-income, first-generation, Latinx, Black, and Native American students from accessing their college dreams.

California higher education is opening the doors to opportunity for students and their families. With the University of California and California State University systems making historic decisions to discontinue the use of standardized testing, such as the SAT and ACT exams, in admissions, our state is sending a clear message that biased, pay-to-play admissions tests will no longer be tolerated.

These decisions follow a movement of over 1,000 colleges and universities across the nation that have eliminated standardized testing requirements in their application process, recognizing the SAT and ACT as better indicators of race, wealth, and privilege than they are of possible college success or aptitude. Families that have the financial means to take the tests multiple times and pay for expensive tutors and test prep have an advantage, which produces socioeconomic and racial/equity gaps in test scores. In contrast, decades of research have shown that high school GPA is a stronger indicator of college success.

Meeting This Historic Moment

California must continue to lead the way to expand access and ensure equity in higher education. Standardized testing is just one obstacle that has been removed, but many roadblocks still exist. This includes: California’s Proposition 209 which prohibits the use of affirmative action in college admissions; capacity constraints at our public universities that turn too many qualified and talented low income, Black, Latinx, and Native American students away; and eliminating remedial placement practices at community colleges. Learn how California can continue to champion student success: