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    University of California Will No Longer Consider SAT and ACT Scores
    The university system has reached a settlement with students to scrap even optional testing from admissions and scholarship decisions.
    Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio
    New York Times
    May 15, 2021

    Quote
    The University of California will not take SAT and ACT scores into account in admissions or scholarship decisions for its system of 10 schools, which include some of the nation’s most sought-after campuses, in accordance with a settlement in a lawsuit brought by students.

    The settlement announced on Friday signals the end of a lengthy legal debate over whether the University of California system should use the standardized tests, which students of color and those with disabilities have said put them at a disadvantage. Opponents of the tests called the settlement “historic,” and said that it would broaden access to campuses for students across the state.

    “Today’s settlement ensures that the university will not revert to its planned use of the SAT and ACT — which its own regents have admitted are racist metrics,” said Amanda Savage, a lawyer representing the students.
    This is a bad decision. The SAT and ACT are not racially biased -- they do not underpredict the college GPAs of blacks and Hispanics.

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    The ultimate reputation of a university is formed both by its professors and its students. This decisions means that fewer of the nation's brightest students end up at the UC systems.

    I think this provides an opening for the University of Michigan to compete for and get a greater share of these students. It already pays more for professors (after adjusting for cost of living) than Berkeley does, and Michigan's large endowment means it can spend money strategically in a way that the UC system cannot. It would not surprise me to see that Michigan is the #1 public university in 20 years or so.

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    Is there a trend towards more AP classes? Someone said a student entering Harvard has an average of 8 AP classes. Which is trending up. If you are taking 10 AP classes, do you need a SAT score?

    Also, this same source said Harvard looks if you are taking the optimal challenging courses available. ie, if you are at a private academic and there are 20 AP courses available and you take 2, not so challenging. If you are at some suburban high school in hicktown and there are no AP courses and you take a couple as self study, then yay you. But more and more are available that takes out the need for another standardized score.

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    I think that once you get past 8 APs or so there is no additional benefit. There are many stories on College Confidential about the kid with 15 or so APs but not much else getting shut out of elite college admissions.

    One of my kids did 7 and the other 8 and that, combined with a rigorous schedule before that, was apparently sufficient for admissions for each of them.

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    I'm somewhat sorry to see the SAT and ACT falling by the wayside, as it seems important to have scores from independent sources as an additional lens through which to view student knowledge and acumen, rather than relying solely or primarily on teacher-assigned grades.

    I hold this outlook due to the increasingly widespread use of grading practices designed to create reports of "equal outcomes" among students, regardless their demonstrated ability and achievement.

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    It is a good thing when there isn't anything else, but now with so many APs, do you need a SAT?

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    Originally Posted by Bostonian
    This is a bad decision. The SAT and ACT are not racially biased -- they do not underpredict the college GPAs of blacks and Hispanics.

    I agree it's a bad decision, but suspect your analysis quoted above is incorrect. John McWhorter has some very thoughtful ideas on this subject in general, some of which likely apply to this situation.

    John McWhorter


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    Originally Posted by Wren
    It is a good thing when there isn't anything else, but now with so many APs, do you need a SAT?
    Given two applicants who have not taken calculus, the one with a higher SAT math score is more prepared for college math and science. With the abolition of SAT subject tests there is no national standardized test for precalculus.

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    You can't really rely on APs for a few reasons. First, only about a third or so of high school students take an AP exam, and some of those only take one or two exams. Second, students that take multiple AP exams may take a good number of them senior year, and the scores are not available until after HS graduation (well after they apply to college). And some high schools don't have any or many AP courses.

    The SAT and ACT aren't perfect, though they seem to be the easiest way to compare students from different high schools. I also have never fully bought into the HS GPA is a better predictor of college performance than the SAT.

    We used to see a lot of SAT scores, along with GPA, for kids when my older two played travel softball. At college showcase tournaments, where teams have brochures with SAT and GPA for each player, there were always parents saying their kid's 4.0 mattered more than their SAT score. I don't think that is true, when my 3.6 kid has a two part SAT score that is higher than the 4.0 kid's three part SAT score (for 2400 SAT of years past). Put both of them in the same rigorous college course and we'll see what happens.


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