UCs must go test-blind, Alameda judge rules


Arushi Saxena

SAT and ACT prep books lie on a shelf. A judge in Alameda County ruled that the University of California must immediately cease considering SAT and ACT scores in admissions and scholarship decisions.

by Arushi Saxena and Aditya Singhvi

An Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled in a preliminary injunction on Sept. 1 that the University of California system must immediately bar all use of SAT and ACT test scores for scholarship and admissions decisions. 

“The current Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in restrictions on the availability of test-sites,” the injunction states. “While test taking opportunities for all students have been limited, for persons with disabilities, the ability to obtain accommodations or even to locate suitable test locations is ‘almost nil.’” 

The UCs campuses originally planned to phase out the use of the SAT and ACT scores in admissions, with six campuses, Davis, Los Angeles, Riverside, Merced, San Diego and Santa Barbara, optionally considering these scores for fall 2021 and 2022 admissions and eliminating them entirely beginning with the class of 2023. The other three UC campuses, Berkeley, Irvine and Santa Cruz, decided in May to not accept test scores at all. The injunction takes effect immediately, affecting the admissions process for current seniors. 

The plaintiffs — a group of five individuals and six nonprofit organizations — echoed previous arguments against the classist nature of the tests, but primarily focused their case on students with disabilities who would be unable to take the test with appropriate accommodations during the pandemic as nearly 1350 testing sites have cancelled administrations.    

“Obviously I was disappointed when I read that because its like ‘Great, I spent all this time getting my SAT score, just for it to not really matter as much.’ But at the same time, I think that it’s good that disabled and low-income people are getting a chance like this,” Nicky Kriplani (12), who originally took the SAT in December and had a scheduled March retake cancelled, said. “The decision does feel a bit rushed to me.”

The ruling does not affect the California State University system, which decided to go test-optional for the 2021-22 academic year.