The University of California has opposed the SAT and ACT for decades, and they were on track with a 5-year plan to phase out standardized tests. The first 2 years would be test optional and then the next 3 years would be test blind (by 2025). But they just announced that because testing students with disabilities both during the pandemic (with online options) and even after the pandemic (for moral reasons) is intrinsically unfair, they are banning UC admissions officers from considering SAT or ACT scores for admission and financial aid decisions this year.
This ban was just announced on Monday so we’ll need to wait to see what the UC system decides to do for the 2021 application cycle. UC Berkeley had already established a test blind policy, while UCLA and a few other UCs had offered a test-optional policy. If a student chooses NOT to submit scores, this decision will not hurt their applications. However, the students who wish to submit scores (students with high scores) will have their scores considered in the overall review of their applications.
Hmm. Students who are naturally gifted at taking standardized tests or those with families who can afford private tutoring will definitely be at an advantage in test-optional reviews. Evaluating applications this year will require a keen eye from the admissions point of view. They will need to understand how the student’s school offered courses and grades last semester, how the student’s family situation affected their studies, why their AP or SAT/ACT scores were not submitted, and the general qualifications of each student without standardized test scores and many without grades for spring 2020.
Many colleges across the US are making SAT/ACT scores optional this year. Some will probably continue this the policy after the pandemic passes, but others will go back to requiring them because of contracts established between the colleges and the College Board or ACT. Seems like standardized testing is on its way out when reviewing students’ aptitude.