The University of California (US) system is the latest education facility that has decided to suspend the testing mandate until 2024 as the coronavirus continues to shape the society.
Unlike employees who have shifted to remote working, colleges and counselors are worried about widespread cheating if tests are taken online from home. Thus, they opted to just drop the exams as requirements altogether, according to a Politico report.
On Thursday, May 21, regents of the elite public education facility voted to suspend the SAT and ACT requisite until 2024, before it eliminates the admission test in 2025. A total of 291,000 students are enrolled in the university.
This decision came after UC President Janet Napolitano touted the postponement of testing requirements until 2024 and the creation of a new admissions exam for California students. The UC joins 80 other colleges and universities that will no longer require the admission test this fall. However, it is not yet confirmed whether it will be permanent or just temporary.
Other schools that have suspended the test requirement are Cornell University, Washington and Lee University, Davidson College, Fordham University, Vassar College, Tufts University, and all public universities in Oregon.
This change has produced a fierce reaction from test-makers who hold multimillion-dollar businesses with the admissions process. Without the entrance exam, colleges would base admissions on students’ GPA, high school courses, and personal essays. This eases the barriers for low-income and first-generation applicants as argued by advocates.
On the other hand, according to ACT and SAT heads, focusing on GPAs could result in an increase in grades for affluent high school students where rich parents can press teachers to give better scores.
While test-makers insist on the security of online exams, school officials’ concern is understandable. It has just been a year since the “Varsity Blues” scandal exposed how rich parents paid school officials and teachers so their children would get higher scores.
Also, some online Advanced Placement exams experienced technical glitches last week which prompted parents and students to file a case to challenge the results.
National Association for College Admissions Counseling President Jayne Fonash said the glitch was “the last straw.” The counselors’ group is a prominent critic of online ACT and SAT testing for a long time, but has not made any progress.
The group is worried about students who have no access to stable internet at home, as well as those students with disabilities.
Fonacier also said her group has long encouraged their members who are college officials to review their admission requirements for the 2020-2021 academic year. The counselors’ group, which has more than 15,000 members, feels these schools are influenced by test-makers who decided to carry out online tests amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Fonash emphasized that the preparation regarding the shift to online testing has not been enough Meanwhile, some colleges have already committed to having the admission test postponed for up to three years while others are suspending the exams indefinitely.
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