standardized testing

by Sara Calvert-Kubrom, former admissions officer at Lewis & Clark College

On September 1, 2020, a California State Court judge issued a preliminary injunction stating that the University of California system may not use standardized test scores like the SAT and ACT in their admission evaluation process. This ruling was made in response to the extreme limitations of testing during COVID that have been exacerbated for students with disabilities. These students have had less access to testing sites and/or needed accommodations during testing which are protected by the California Disabled Persons Act and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Although the judge’s ruling bars the use of standardized test scores by the UCs for applicants to the fall of 2021, the legal process is not yet complete and we will learn more after a litigated case management conference on September 29, 2020.

What does this mean?

If the ruling is upheld, the UCs will be test blind for students applying to enroll in the fall of 2021 (current high school seniors, for example). This means that test scores will not be used in any way in the admission process and that there will likely be enhanced emphasis on the high school classes, grades, and rigor of a student’s curriculum, as well as their essays and activities. As of now, the legal case is not finalized and the UCs have not made a public announcement about their plans, so we are closely monitoring new developments in this case. At a minimum, all UCs are test optional (scores are not required, but strong scores can help) for applicants to fall of 2021.

As of September 11, 2020 some UC campuses have individually announced that they are test blind for fall 2021 applicants:

For the other campuses, it is important to closely monitor their admission websites and/or an announcement from the UC system.

Regardless of this court case, all UC campuses will be test blind for California residents by fall of 2023 as they already announced a gradual transition to remove standardized testing from the process in May.

More to come as the news unfolds – stay tuned!

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Written by Sara Calvert-Kubrom
Sara Calvert-Kubrom is a member of College Coach's team of college admissions consultants and a former admissions officer at Lewis & Clark College and leader of the Program at Northeastern University. Visit our website to learn more about Sara Calvert-Kubrom.