You may have already heard that the University of California voted unanimously in May to phase out the SAT/ACT test requirements over the course of 5 years by first going test-optional and eventually test-blind. However, this September, a court decision ruled that the current testing requirements disadvantage those who need disability accommodations to get to testing centers, especially during the pandemic. As a result, starting with the current graduating class of 2021, the UC system is completely test-blind.
This is breaking news as students and parents alike have argued over the validity and equality of standardized testing for years. We interviewed 2 current high school students with very opposing viewpoints on their reactions to this news. The students’ names have been redacted due to their requests for anonymity.
Student A: The UC system made the correct choice by going test-blind.
“This is a huge win for academic equality,” Student A said. “There is an abundance of research out there showing that requiring standardized testing benefits wealthier and more privileged students in college admissions. For example, at my high school, we are offered SAT/ACT help from our teachers and many students can afford to get extra help from tutors. This is a luxury that low income or otherwise disadvantaged students can’t afford.”
“Therefore, by going test-blind, the UC system is evening out the playing field and helping students get the chance to attend college regardless of their socioeconomic status. Plus, there’s plenty of research out there that argues that standardized testing may not be an accurate measure of intelligence.”
Student A has a point. This move may prove beneficial to disadvantaged students who may not have had the resources to pay and study for the exam. But let’s explore Student B’s perspective.
Student B: The UC system made the wrong choice by going test-blind.
“As a student who worked really hard 2 years ago and scored well on the ACT, I feel sort of cheated. I invested months of my time and energy studying for the test all for… nothing? I agreed more with the UC system’s plan in May to roll it out slowly, because at least we were given notice ahead of time. Now, this sudden decision to eliminate standardized tests has left me feeling like I wasted months of my time.”
“In addition, I believe that the more metrics a college has to measure a student, the better picture the college will get of the students’ achievements and intelligence. Now, the only objective number we are judged by is our GPAs, which some may argue is an even more ambiguous metric of success. After all, different schools and teachers will oftentimes result in different GPA outcomes. I believe that the more information a college has on us, the better they will be able to accurately understand and judge us.”
“I think a reasonable compromise should’ve been to either significantly decrease the weight that is put on SAT/ACT scores or to just stick with the original 5 year plan. Either way, I wonder what effect this will have on admissions this year.”
Student B makes a convincing argument as well. Which side are you on? Let us know what you think in the comments or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.