New blow to SAT empire shows California’s key role in diminishing college admissions tests

By: | January 22, 2021

One by one, the California blows against the SAT and ACT kept coming.

First UC Berkeley announced last May that it wanted to disregard SAT and ACT test scores in admissions decisions for some students in a pilot study. The same day, University of California regents unanimously voted to phase out the tests over five years. After that, Caltech nixed them for at least two years. And in September, a California state judge ordered UC to immediately suspend all use of test scores in admissions.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic leveled its own hits — upending the testing environment nationwide by severely limiting testing opportunities and prompting the massive California State University system and three-fourths of U.S. colleges to suspend testing requirements for fall 2021 applicants.

But when the College Board announced that it was scrapping the SAT subject tests and optional essays to “reduce and simplify demands on students,” amid the pandemic, testing experts nationwide pointed to California as a prime accelerator in crippling this mainstay of the college admissions process for millions of students over the last half century. Because of the outsize influence of the state’s higher education institutions, some believe the SAT and ACT could be headed for eventual demise.

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