California Drops SAT/ACT, Will Create New Test

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On May 21, the University of California regents voted to suspend its SAT/ACT testing requirement until at least 2024. At the same time, they decided to invest millions of dollars over several years to develop their own test for California applicants, designed to be more equitable for minority and lower-income students.

This move is significant because UC is one of the largest systems in the country with almost 300,000 students and ten campuses, including Berkeley and UCLA. Also noteworthy is their recognition that standardized testing is still an important component of the admissions process.

The UC plan will be phased in as follows:

  • For freshmen entering in 2021 and 2022, the UC system will be test optional for admissions.
  • For freshmen entering in 2023 and 2024, UC will be mostly test blind, meaning that SAT and ACT scores would not be used in admissions decisions for California residents. Out-of-state applicants could use the new CA test (if available) or the SAT/ACT. Historically, very few colleges have gone entirely test blind. UC applicants could continue to submit SAT and ACT scores during this period for use in awarding scholarships, and for the state guaranteed admissions provision that grants admission to those who rank in the top eighth of California high schools.
  • For freshmen entering in 2025, a new CA admissions test will be created and used instead of the SAT and ACT. All California applicants would take the new test to apply, and it would be made available to private schools and out-of-state schools to use. Nonresidents and international students could submit either SAT/ACT scores or scores on the new test.
  • If no new test is available by 2025, the state will go test blind, eliminating the role of standardized testing in admissions.