Courts rule that UCs cannot consider SAT/ACT scores in admissions process

An+Alameda+County+judge+ruled+on+yesterday+that+considering+standardized+test+scores+in+the+admissions+process+is+ableist.+%2F%2FUCLA

An Alameda County judge ruled on yesterday that considering standardized test scores in the admissions process is ableist. //UCLA

Sneha Cheenath and Daniela Wise

An Alameda County judge ruled on Tuesday that considering standardized test scores in the admissions process is ableist, as access to the test and/or testing accommodations is further complicated by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman emphasized that allowing some applicants to submit test scores tips the scales against disabled students. Specifically, “few of whom would have access to the tests during the COVID-19 pandemic because many testing sites have closed.” 

Before this ruling, testing was optional. University of California planned to eliminate it from consideration for the class of 2023 onward, but this new ruling applies to 2021 and 2022. The plaintiff’s lawyers celebrated that the process got rid of a system that worked against systematically oppressed groups, while the former chief executive of the ACT said they were getting rid of an objective way for students with below-average grades to prove themselves. 

California State University has also suspended the use of tests for the 2021-22 school year.

UC is considering further legal action to appeal this ruling, UC President Micheal Drake stating “UC respectfully disagrees with the court’s ruling…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.”  If successful, testing policies will remain at the status quo: voluntary submission.