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Judge Orders UC System to Drop ACT, SAT in Admissions

A California Superior Court judge on Monday ordered the University of California System to stop using the SAT and ACT in its admissions and scholarship decisions.

The ruling is in response to a legal challenge from several students and advocacy groups contending that the system’s new policy, which considers but doesn’t require applicants’ admissions test scores, puts students with disabilities at a disadvantage amid the pandemic.

Their argument that the policy violates the Americans with Disabilities Act could spur litigators elsewhere in the country to launch a similar argument, experts say.

Judge Brad Seligman wrote in his ruling that the students and their advocates had shown cause for the preliminary injunction against the test-optional policy, citing very limited ability for students with disabilities to get accommodations or find suitable testing sites in light of the pandemic. Testing dates were postponed or canceled while several testing sites had closed as K-12 schools and college campuses shuttered.

The students and advocates had argued the policy violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. Seligman wrote that the test-optional policy, under current conditions, denies test-takers with disabilities a benefit that others have, which is effectively a second chance at admission. Students applying to schools with test-optional policies don’t have to share bad scores, while good scores could get their application a second look.

The court’s decision “highlights a handle that can be leveraged by litigants in other states,” said Jay Rosner, executive director of The Princeton Review Foundation. Rosner is also a member of a UC committee that will make a recommendation to the system’s president on its plans to adopt or develop another admissions test.

Bob Schaeffer, interim executive director of FairTest, a group that pushes for controlled use of admissions tests, similarly pointed to the ruling’s “national implications,” in a statement Tuesday. “[T]he same protections under the (ADA) should apply to all test-takers across the nation,” Schaeffer said in the statement.

In a statement emailed to Education Dive Tuesday, a UC spokesperson said the system “respectfully disagrees” with the court’s ruling and is “evaluating whether further legal actions are called for.”

The UC System in March temporarily suspended its standardized test requirement for students entering in the fall of 2021 because of the pandemic. Two months later, its governing board voted to mostly abandon the SAT and ACT as a condition for admission to its campuses. Its plan was to give campuses the option of considering test scores if students submitted them for fall 2021 and fall 2022, and then not permit schools to count the scores for California students’ admission the following two years. By the fifth year, the system could have a new assessment for students to take.

Excerpted from “Judge Orders UC System to Drop ACT, SAT in Admissions” in Education DIVE. Read the full article.

Source: Education DIVE | Judge Orders UC System to Drop ACT, SAT in Admissions, https://www.educationdive.com/news/judge-orders-uc-system-to-drop-act-sat-in-admissions/584531 | © 2020 Industry Dive


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