UC Board of Regents vote to drop ACT, SAT test requirements

Students walk on the campus of University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in Los Angeles, California on March 11, 2020. - Starting this week many southern California universities including UCLA will suspend in-person classes due to coronavirus co

The University of California Board of Regents unanimously approved suspending standardized test requirement (ACT/SAT) for all freshman applicants until fall 2024. 

According to a statement from the UC Board of Regents, the suspension will allow them to create a new test that “better aligns with the content the University expects students to have mastered for college readiness”. 

They say however, if the new test doesn’t meet criteria before fall of 2025 they plan to eliminate standardized testing requirements for California students.

“Today’s decision by the Board marks a significant change for the University’s undergraduate admissions,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “We are removing the ACT/SAT requirement for California students and developing a new test that more closely aligns with what we expect incoming students to know to demonstrate their preparedness for UC.”

Tests will now be considered optional through 2022. 

The university says for 2023 and 2024, UC will be test-blind, meaning students will still have the option of submitting a test score, but it will only be considered for purposes such as course placement, certain scholarships and eligibility for the statewide admissions guarantee. 

Officials released a timeline for the future of standardized testing at UC:

-- Test-optional for fall 2021 and fall 2022: Campuses will have the option to use ACT/SAT test scores in selection consideration if applicants choose to submit them, and will develop appropriate policies and procedures to implement the Board’s decision.

-- Test-blind for fall 2023 and fall 2024: Campuses will not consider test scores for California public and independent high school applicants in admissions selection, a practice known as “test-blind” admissions. Test scores could still be considered for other purposes such as course placement, certain scholarships and eligibility for the statewide admissions guarantee.

-- New standardized test: Starting in summer 2020 and ending by January 2021, UC will undertake a process to identify or create a new test that aligns with the content UC expects students to have mastered to demonstrate college readiness for California freshmen.

-- Elimination of the ACT/SAT test requirement: By 2025, any use of the ACT/SAT would be eliminated for California students and a new UC-endorsed test to measure UC-readiness would be required. However, if by 2025 the new test is either unfeasible or not ready, consideration of the ACT/SAT for freshman admissions would still be eliminated for California students.

-- Elimination of writing test: The University will eliminate altogether the SAT Essay/ACT Writing Test as a requirement for UC undergraduate admissions, and these scores will not be used at all effective for fall 2021 admissions.

In March, UC temporarily suspended standardized test requirements for fall 2021 applicants due to learning challenges students were facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.