From The Chronicle of Higher Education
Reporter’s Notebook: The weakening grip of standardized tests.
From our Eric Hoover: Since March 2020, I’ve written more articles about standardized testing than about anything else in the admissions realm. After all, the pandemic forced many colleges to rethink their longstanding reliance on the ACT and SAT — and the human toll of requiring high-stakes exams. No, college-entrance tests aren’t about to fade away, but their grip on higher education is weakening.
Last week delivered more reminders of that. On Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported that a faculty committee at the University of California has recommended that the institution should not adopt an alternative exam to replace the ACT and SAT, which the the university’s Board of Regents voted unanimously to stop using in admissions evaluations through 2024. After that the system was to either adopt a new test — or continue to go without test scores.
This spring, Michael V. Drake, the system’s president, asked the university’s Academic Senate to consider the viability of a possible replacement for the ACT and SAT: a statewide assessment called Smarter Balanced, which is used in public schools. A faculty committee gave it a thumbs down. According to the Times, the committee wrote that the exam would reduce the admission rates for Black, Hispanic, and low-income applicants while providing “modest incremental value” in predicting first-year grades at UC.
The report, which is scheduled to be presented to the regents in November, just might guarantee that UC remains test-free for good.
Also on Friday, a National College Athletic Association task force studying standardized testing recommended removing ACT and SAT score requirements from its initial-eligibility standards for Division I and II sports. “We are observing a national trend in NCAA member schools moving away from requiring standardized test scores for admissions purposes,” David Wilson, president of Morgan State University and the head of the task force, said in a written statement, “and this recommendation for athletics eligibility aligns directly with that movement.”