Carol Christ voices support for eliminating standardized test admission requirement

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UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ voiced her support for eliminating the SAT and ACT standardized tests admission requirement at an education conference panel discussion Friday.

Research has reportedly led Christ to believe that tests may contribute to systematic inequalities within the educational system, according to a tweet from Los Angeles Times reporter Teresa Watanabe. Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said in an email that Christ’s comments do not indicate a change in policy, as campus admissions policy is determined at the UC systemwide level.

“Currently there is a University of California work group assessing the benefits of using SAT scores as a required element for admission,” Mogulof said in an email.

Christ’s comments come after organizations including the Compton Unified School District and the Community Coalition wrote a letter to the UC Board of Regents, urging the board to eliminate standardized tests as an admissions requirement.

The letter alleges that standardized tests discriminate against underrepresented students and that high school GPA seems to be a stronger indicator of college success than SAT or ACT scores.

According to College Board spokesperson Jerome White in an email, there is a correlation between family income and academic achievement in standardized tests. He added in the email that family income influences academic performance through many factors, including “access to good pre-K educational experiences, well-resourced schools, good medical care, and safe living environments.”

Additionally, the skills measured by the new SAT introduced in 2016 have been identified as necessary for college-readiness, according to White in the email.

“Any objective measure of student achievement will shine a light on inequalities in our education system,” White said in the email. “Our focus, with our members and partners, is combating these longstanding inequalities.”

White added in the email that the SAT helps determine ways to support students who struggled with the test.

“The College Board will continue to work with the University of California as it addresses the challenging tasks of admitting students from among thousands of qualified applicants and supporting their success when they arrive on campus,” White said in the email.

Maya Akkaraju is a higher education reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @maya_akkaraju.