Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Lawsuit on SAT-ACT can proceed

Judge: UC can be sued for discrimination against low-income students due to use of SAT, ACT exams for admissions

San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko, 5-19-20

A judge says the University of California can be sued for allegedly discriminating against low-income, minority and disabled applicants by mandating the SAT and ACT as an admissions requirement. The ruling comes as UC prepares to decide whether to stop making standardized tests a mandatory part of the application process.

The lawsuit’s allegations, if proven, could show that the university “knew that its policy choice would disproportionately impact minority and low-income students” as well as disabled students, said Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman in a ruling made public Tuesday. He said California law prohibits discriminatory government policies even if the bias was unintentional.

The regents are scheduled to meet Thursday and consider UC President Janet Napolitano’s proposal to eliminate the requirement of the Scholastic Aptitude Test and the American College Testing exam for students seeking admission in the fall of 2021. Her plan, announced May 11, would allow students applying in 2021 or 2022 to submit their SAT and ACT scores. Applications for 2023 and 2024 would not include test scores, and in 2025, Napolitano wants UC either to create its own exam or to eliminate admissions tests...

The suit noted that the university’s Academic Senate had refused to require the SAT for admissions in the 1960s, finding that the test scores had little or no relationship to future success at UC, before reversing course in 1979. Seligman, in his ruling, said the evidence could show that the university knew the test had an adverse impact on disadvantaged and minority applicants...

UC noted that the judge had only allowed the suit to proceed and had not ruled on the merits of the case...

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