Michael Burke | EdSource
For the foreseeable future, standardized testing will not be part of the UCLA freshman admissions program.
This became clear on Thursday during the university’s Board of Trustees meeting, as senior management effectively closed the door to the possibility that the university would find a new standardized test that would replace the SAT and ACT, which are no longer part of the admissions process.
Earlier this year, UCLA President Michael Drake asked the University’s Academic Senate to consider whether to allow students to take their 11-grade Smarter Balanced exams, the state’s annual standardized tests, for admissions review. But the Senate rejected the proposal, a decision that was approved by Drake’s office.
“UC will continue to practice testing-free admissions now and in the future,” Vice Rector Michael Brown said during Thursday’s meeting.
Earlier this year, the university committee also rejected the possibility of UC developing its own standardized exam.
Asked by the Regent to clarify whether Thursday’s discussion marks the end of the issue, Brown said, “This is the end for now.”
Drake added that the university “currently has no certification” that can be effectively used in admissions. He said that if another test is developed and proven to be effective, the university “could definitely consider implementing such a method in the future, but we are not developing it and we do not know of any that exist at present. … “
The university’s nine-campus system last year pledged to end the use of SAT and ACT – tests critics say discriminate against low-income students, students with disabilities, and black and Hispanic students. The university also reached a court ruling this year that prohibits UC from using these exams at any time in the future, even on an optional basis.
The university pondered whether it would be worthwhile to develop its own exam that could be used for admission, but this idea was rejected by a committee, which decided that it would take too long to create a new test. Instead, the university decided to investigate whether using a modified version of the Smarter Balanced exams would be a sufficient replacement for the SAT and ACT.
Rejecting the proposal, the Academic Senate determined that Smarter Balanced scores “add only modest additional value over the high school grade point average,” Mary Gauvin, Chair of the Academic Senate, said during a meeting Thursday.
The Senate also decided that converting the Smarter Balanced exams from a low-stakes test to a high-stakes exam to be used in admission is likely to lead to the development of ‘exam preparation businesses, which in SAT / ACT cases have been shown to increase the difference in points between demographic groups, “- says the agenda of the meeting on Thursday.