All UCs will no longer consider SAT or ACT test scores when making admissions decisions or awarding scholarships. This is a good move for many reasons.
It saves an incredible amount of stress surrounding the college application process.
A study by Jennifer Heissel, Dorainne Levy, and Emma Adam called “Stress, Sleep, and Performance on Standardized Test: Understudied Pathways to the Achievement Gap” states that stress exposure and subsequent biological responses to stress exposure, can negatively affect the cognitive function and test performance.
The SAT and ACT cause students stress, which then leads to poor test performance, which ultimately leads to poor test scores and even greater stress for students as they have an opportunity to take the test again. Testing again just brings them back into the same spiral of stress as before.
Besides the student stress factor, eliminating these tests as a requirement has other benefits for the universities.
According to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, race, education status and access to money played a role in how a student scored in the SAT. Students who had the testing fee waived scored an average of 987, while those who did not scored an average of 1076. As a student’s parents had a higher formal education, the scores rose as well. Students whose parents did not have a high school diploma scored an average of 926, while those whose parents had a graduate degree scored an average of 1194.
There are so many factors that come into play in a student’s score, and often it is something that is not a reflection of the student’s intelligence.
A 2018 study titled “Defining Access: How Test-Optional Works” looked at how test optional affected admissions and performance at 28 colleges and universities. The study found that Black, Latinx and other minority students were less likely to submit scores and those who opted not to submit scores were found graduating at similar rates to those who did.
The University of La Verne was ahead of the curve as they started using the Test-Optional Policy in 2020.
According to the ULV website, starting in spring 2020, the University along with 1,000 other schools will no longer require test scores to be reported. However, they did mention how submitting the scores may make a students’ application stronger but will not harm their chances of getting in.
According to ULV’s Test-Optional Policy page that their students are more than a number and they like to see the whole picture before deciding and they don’t want a single test score to limit a bright student’s access to college.
Currently there are over 1,600 colleges and universities that have made SAT and ACT tests optional.
Now with all University of California schools following what ULV started a year ago, it will put students on an even playing field to continue their education.