Univ. of California system phasing out SAT/ACT testing; will it impact Utah schools?

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – In a major college shake-up, the University of California system voted last week to completely phase out ACT and SAT scores in admissions decisions. 

The UC system is the largest system of higher education in the world with the most students, the most dollars, and the most influence. They plan to phase out those tests over the next five years, eventually replacing them with a UC specific entrance test undergraduate applicants will need to take. 

RELATED: Utah lawmakers consider possible budget cuts to public education

Schools here in Utah are now responding to the move. 

Steve Robinson is the Senior Assoc. VP of Enrollment Management at the University of Utah; he said, “We’re watching that very closely to see what the potential impacts could be for us.”
The University of Utah recruits heavily in California; students may limit the number of schools they apply to if they are required to take multiple tests. But Robinson pointed out that the test companies themselves are likely going to change drastically now that their biggest customer has pulled it’s business. 

The U does use SAT and ACT scores in admissions, but Robinson explained they are one of many factors, “We employ a wholistic review system, we don’t look at one factor, we do look at standardized test scores but we also look at GPA and any information the student would like us to when they apply.”

The argument that eventually tipped the scales in California was access. Students and educators argued that some students have better access to test prep and therefore better access to an acceptance letter. 

Robinson said, “That’s one of the reasons we went to the wholistic approach; there are socioeconomic differences that do manifest themselves, national research has shown that. If your family has resources to provide that then your score might not be as high—but the same things is true of GPA. One high school’s 3.8 GPA is not the same as another high school’s 3.8 GPA.”

He said it will take years before this change and all of the changes necessitated by the pandemic balance into a new normal for admissions. 


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