Stark disparities in eligibility and admissions to the University of California (UC) by race, ethnicity and income are indefensible, yet unfortunately the UC’s Standardized Testing Task Force came to the defense of well-known race and class stratifiers: the ACT and SAT.
If the UC cannot use race/ethnicity to close persistent gaps in university access, then it should not be allowed to use standardized tests known to exacerbate inequality by race/ethnicity and wealth. Today, nearly 60% of California high school graduates are Latinx, Black or Native American. However, Latinx, Black and Native American students only make up one-third of admitted freshmen to the UC.
For more than a year, the Task Force has been evaluating the UC’s use of standardized tests in admissions and they conclude that the UC should continue to use the tests until a better assessment tool can be devised in nine years.
A careful read of the report makes it clear that there are competing arguments in favor of and in opposition to eliminating standardized testing in admissions. For example, the Task Force recognizes adverse effects of standardized testing, stating, “If group score differences reflect historic injustices, then continuing to use them continues to perpetuate the effects of these prior injustices.” The report then goes on to justify continued use because “UC’s admissions process helped make up for the potential adverse effect of differences between groups.” Read more