CFER Defends Merit in UC Admissions

National Association of Scholars

The University of California (UC) Board of Regents has proposed a radical change to its admissions practices, one that would abolish all standardized testing requirements (SAT, ACT, etc.) and introduce a new admissions test created by the university system itself. This comes amidst claims from many that standardized tests such as the SAT reflect and help maintain racism and inequality in higher education admissions. Others deny this, arguing that the tests serve as equalizers and aid in creating a level playing field in admissions.

One group fighting the removal of standardized testing is Californians for Equal Rights (CFER), a non-profit organization that was pivotal in California’s rejection of Proposition 16 last November. In a letter to the UC Board of Regents, CFER’s executive director, Wenyuan Wu argues that “Dropping empirically designed tests in UC’s process of selecting incoming students is a politicized and misguided attempt to cover up true causes behind achievement and opportunity gaps.” She adds, “replacing academic selection with more subjective school-level factors (GPAs) will exacerbate the issue of “grade inflation” and deprive underrepresented students of their fair opportunities to succeed through hard work.”

Wu also testified before the Board of Regents on Thursday, a transcript of which may be found here. We also embed a recording of the testimony here:

The National Association of Scholars believes that standardized tests, despite their flaws, are necessary to help ensure that every applicant gets a fair shot at admission. Without them, it becomes far easier for wealthy applicants and others to pay their way into school through backdoor means. We commend Wenyuan Wu and CFER for their continual work in this arena and urge the University of California to keep, not drop, standardized testing.


Image: Louis H. G., Wikimedia CommonsCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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