Students can practice using a free SAT online prep program. However, UC no longer needs the test or the ACT alternative.


Students can practice using a free SAT online prep program. However, UC no longer needs the test or the ACT alternative.

With the abolition of the SAT and ACT for freshmen, the University of California should not develop its own standardized test or use any other standardized test as an admission requirement. An important university committee recommended.

Instead, the committee says UC should consider whether students have the option of submitting their 11th grade Smarter Balanced exams, the state’s annual standardized tests, to help them apply for admission to the system’s nine undergraduate locations to consider.

The committee decided that the Smarter Balanced exam would be an improvement over the SAT and ACT because, unlike these exams, the Smarter Balanced test assesses a curriculum that is consistent with the standards taught in the state’s public schools, as well as with other admission requirements for UC.

The proposal that will be presented to the UC Board of Regents for discussion next week is far from final. Even if implemented, it would not go into effect for several years and the test would have to be modified for use in approvals.

The idea is already facing a setback. In fact, a majority of members of a UC working group tasked with investigating the idea were against using the Smarter Balanced test in selecting students for admission and filed a memo criticizing the working group’s final report because they did not accurately reflect their views. This report, which recommended further investigation into the use of Smart Balanced testing in approvals, was the basis for the committee’s final recommendation.

The working group’s report recognized several potential issues with using the Smarter Balanced exams. For example, the report cited significant racial differences in the Smarter Balanced test scores, as did the SAT and ACT scores. These differences were a major reason the regents decided to stop using the SAT and ACT for approvals.

It is also not clear what this would mean for students who do not have access to the Smarter Balanced exams, including most non-state students, international students, and private students.

Ultimately, the committee found that the Smarter Balanced Test “has several characteristics worth considering,” including a measure of the Common Core standards taught in California’s K-12 schools. These standards are built into the California AG’s course requirements that students must meet to be admitted to UC and 23-campus California State University, the state’s other four-year university system.

The committee also emphasized that any use of Smarter Balanced testing should be of little use in approvals. For this reason, UC recommended giving students the opportunity to submit their results if they think it would help their application without them having to do so.

“We suggest that the Smarter Balanced Assessment be further explored and evaluated … and that it be considered for a use that is different from previous high-stakes use of the SAT or ACT,” said UC Provost Michael Brown and UC Academic Senate Chair Mary Gauvain wrote a letter to Michael Drake, the UC President. Brown and Gauvain were co-chairs of the committee.

Last May, the UC Board of Regents voted to drop SAT and ACT as entry requirements for freshmen. The working group was then tasked with determining whether UC should create its own test or use another standardized test for entry-level admission and asked to make a recommendation to a separate steering committee who would then send a recommendation to the UC’s office. President would judge.

The working group first checked whether UC could develop its own standardized test. This idea was quickly ruled out, however, and the working group decided that it would not be possible to create a new test within the time constraints set by the regents. The regents stated that a new test would be required for applicants in the fall of 2025, which means it should be done by the spring of 2024. The working group decided that it would take at least nine years to develop such a test.

Instead, the working group decided that it would be possible to modify an existing test and, in its final report to the Steering Committee, strongly recommended that the “Smarter Balanced” rating be further investigated for regulatory purposes.

In addition to meeting state curriculum standards, the Smart Balanced test is already made available free of charge to all California public school students, so there are no additional costs for these students or their families.

However, the committee and working group also recognized a number of potential drawbacks in using the Smarter Balanced exams. The Smart Balanced Test was not designed to be an admission test, so its use in admissions may be incorrect.

Smarter Balanced Scores for Grade 11 students also show large racial and ethnic differences. For example, the report finds that in math, 70% of Asian and 45% of white students meet or exceed the standards, compared to 20% of black and Latin American students. According to the report, it is unclear whether the Smarter Balanced Test is fairer than the SAT and ACT.

The Smarter Balanced exam is also offered only once to students, which means they cannot retake the test for a better score – – something that was an option with the SAT and ACT.

The working group was divided on whether to consider the use of Smarter Balanced exams when selecting applicants. Ten of the 18 members of the working group submitted a memo in which they opposed the use of the exam when selecting students for admission.

In this memo, the 10 members say that the final report “falsely endorses the opinion” of the minority of the working group “instead of our majority position”.

“In my experience, it is common for a minority opinion not to be adequately expressed in a group report that we saw along with the Faculty’s Task Force report. However, it is either highly unusual or uncommon for a majority opinion not to be adequately expressed in a group report, ”wrote Jay Rosner, executive director of the Princeton Review Foundation and member of the committee. He wrote the memo for himself and nine other members.

Rosner declined to comment on Tuesday, saying it was inappropriate to do so before the regents had a chance to discuss the point.

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