• Amanda Jaffe

The Implications of a System Without Standardized Tests

Many describe the SAT and ACT as a “rite of passage” because of the hours of preparation and cost of classes and tutors.. For students at a high-powered school such as Edgemont, the SAT/ACT also represents a way to stand out from other students with similar GPAs, giving colleges another data point (one that thankfully doesn’t take freshman year grades into account).

However, as of 2025 the University of California system will no longer be legally allowed to use SAT/ACT scores for admission. A test many of our peers took just one year ago is now banned. A California judge ruled the test-optional policy at all UC schools would give more privileged, and non-disbaled students a better chance in admissions (California’s Disabled Persons Act, along with the Americans with Disabilities Act, require that students with disabilities not be penalized in college admissions).

The argument of the court held that the tests are biased and should not be used, so that students from all backgrounds have a fair chance of acceptance into top schools. Marci Miller, who argued on behalf of the banning of the test, told the press that her firm had a strong case even before the pandemic. Much research has come out showing that students from higher income families score higher on the SAT and ACT; whereas, students from lower income families tend to score lower.

There are numerous possible reasons for this gap: not all school districts have the money or time to test many of their students, many parents cannot afford SAT/ACT tutoring or classes, and others are not able to navigate the complex process of securing accommodations for the exams. For both the SAT and ACT, one has to apply to each respective test in order to qualify for extended time or any other changes. Even if a student has had accommodations for years, he or she may still be rejected.

Despite the flaws of both tests, the UC system wants to counter-sue. The University of California said it "respectfully disagrees with the Court's ruling." The UC system would like to continue allowing students to submit scores for SAT/ACT in order to gauge the test-taking abilities and knowledge of the students they accept.

For many students here at Edgemont, this ruling may sound irrelevant, since not many students apply to UC schools. However, due to the size and influence of the California system, it will likely set a precedent for many other schools.

Clearly, there is no system or test that will be perfectly fair. The question we should ask: What we can do to even the playing field that will not unduly harm either students or colleges?There may never be a right answer, but hopefully adjustments will be made to give each student an equal opportunity at academic success. The SAT/ACT may continue to be a right of passage for many high schoolers, but college admission as we know it will likely be forever altered after this ruling.