Judge Rules University of California Cannot Use Standardized Tests in Admissions

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September 2, 2020

The University of California school system is no longer allowed to use SAT and ACT test scores as part of its admissions process after a California judge ruled that the tests give an unfair advantage to non-disabled students.

The university system has not required students to submit standardized test scores as part of their college applications since May when the university board of regents voted to phase out the test requirements. Applicants could still voluntarily submit their test scores, however, which, according to Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman's Tuesday ruling, gave some students an "inherent advantage" over others.

"Non-disabled, economically advantaged, and white test-takers have an inherent advantage in the testing process," Seligman said in his ruling.

The injunction prohibits schools from considering applicants' standardized test scores in admissions while the lawsuit is ongoing.

University of California president Michael Drake said the ruling hinders the schools' ability to "enroll students of diverse backgrounds and experiences."

"UC respectfully disagrees with the court's ruling," Drake and other regents said in a joint statement. "An injunction may interfere with the university's efforts to implement appropriate and comprehensive admissions policies, and its ability to attract and enroll students of diverse backgrounds and experiences."

A group of students filed a lawsuit in December that claimed standardized tests were unfair to non-native English speakers, students who could not afford test preparation, and students with disabilities. Some schools in the system, including Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and Irvine, already removed standardized test scores from their admissions process, while other schools made the tests optional.

Some experts have said that they believe the University of California's decision could have a "ripple effect," leading other colleges and universities to also drop the tests from their application requirements.