Lawsuit claims the SAT and ACT are illegal in California colleges

By Daniel Lehewych

Contributer| Telegraph Local

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The primary determinator of how undergraduate students are admitted into college is by SAT and ACT scores. If you score well on these exams, the likelihood of you getting admitted into a top tier school is high. Contrastly, scoring low on these exams is a sure way to prevent students from attending top tier universities.

“My future is at stake,” says Fatima Martinez, Los Angeles high school senior. “The score I will receive will determine which UC schools I get into.”

In recent years, standardized tests have been under as much scrutiny as such tests put students under. Hence, the massivity of the negative attention these tests have been drawing.

The controversy around these tests is essentially the idea that they serve as gatekeepers and maintain inequality of education –and in particular, put minority demographics at a disadvantage. This controversy has certainly yielded tangible results in terms of backlash. Most predominantly, many universities have ceased the usage of the GRE exam for admissions into graduate school.

In California, such backlash is following ensue.

A lawsuit is expected to be filed today against the University of California. This is due to the fact that the University of California still utilizes the SAT and ACT in its admissions process. The argument within the lawsuit –and against these tests, in general– is that they display a profound bias (in terms of race and class, towards those who are generally middle-class and above) and that they do not actually prove the capability of students to succeed in university. This is primarily predicated on research that correlates family income with success on the SAT and ACT.

“The evidence that we’re basing the lawsuit on is not in dispute,” says attorney Mark Rosenbaum of the pro bono firm Public Counsel. “What the SAT and ACT are doing are exacerbating inequities in the public school system and keeping out deserving students every admissions cycle.”

Given that more and more schools are either dropping these tests or making them optional, it is no wonder that the University of California has pondered already about whether or not to drop the exam from the admissions process. One thing is for sure, however: if the University of California drops the exams –either by its own decision, or by the decision of a lawsuit– that will change the standards of college admissions across the board.

“If the University of California were to go ahead and drop the testing requirements, it would have profound and widespread effects in the college admissions arena,” says Bob Schaeffer, director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing. “If University of California can go test-optional, pretty much any school could.”

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