SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A highly anticipated report from a University of California faculty task force is recommending that the prestigious 10-campus public university system keep the SAT and ACT tests as part of its admissions process, noting that the standardized tests are important indicators of student success and might benefit disadvantaged students.
The report released Monday dealt a blow to activist groups that have long argued that standardized tests put minority and low-income students at a disadvantage. Critics say tests questions often contain inherent bias that more privileged children are better equipped to answer but also that wealthier students typically take expensive prep courses that help boost their scores, which disadvantaged students can’t afford.
The preliminary findings by the UC faculty’s 18-member Standardized Testing Task Force found that UC’s admissions practices “do not fully make up for disparities that persist along lines of race and class” and recommended further study on how to increase diversity.
But the task force “did not find evidence that UC’s use of tests scores played a major role in worsening the effects of disparities” in the system.
It found that standardized tests are better predictors of a student’s success in their first year at UC schools than a student’s high school grade point average. The tests are also a more accurate measure of first-year retention and graduation than high school grades, the report said.
The report recommends that UC develop its own admission exam that might that could help UC admit classes that are more representative of the state’s diversity, a process that would take several years.
The 192-page report will be reviewed by the UC Academic Senate, which will compile faculty input from all UC campuses before giving its recommendations to UC President Janet Napolitano. The Board of Regents is expected to consider the issue at its May meeting.