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Students and Activists Suing University of California System Over Use of SAT and ACT Exams

Students and Activists Suing University of California System Over Use of SAT and ACT Exams

“As the stakes are getting higher to attain a bachelor’s degree, college admission processes have been under increased scrutiny.”

The argument here is that test prep programs are expensive and therefore exclusive.

CNBC reports:

A coalition of students and activists are suing one of the biggest university systems over the SAT

With acceptance rates at top colleges and universities falling to record or near-record lows, high school students and families are feeling more pressure to do whatever they can to get into elite schools.

A prime example is the “Varsity Blues” scandal.

As the stakes are getting higher to attain a bachelor’s degree, college admission processes have been under increased scrutiny.

The University of California system is facing a lawsuit from a group of students, educators and advocates over its use of SAT and ACT in college admissions decisions.

The plaintiffs argue that SAT and ACT exams are discriminatory because they have created a lucrative test-prep industry that is out of reach for many low-income families.

“I don’t think it’s an achievement test. I think it shows an achievement gap,” said plaintiff Kawika Smith, a high school senior from south Los Angeles.

Proponents of the SAT, owned by the College Board, a not-for-profit organization, believe that standardized tests are important in predicting applicants’ ability to succeed in college and leveling the playing fields.

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Comments

If you can’t even afford the tests you certainly can’t afford college.

    Barry Soetoro in reply to 3manped. | March 12, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    The test prep services seem expensive for little or no improvement in score. If you can’t score well without taking a dubious prep course, you shouldn’t be in college.

They haven’t thought this through. When admission is based on a test, you can study hard, practice hard, and improve your chances.

When the test is gone, you can’t prepare. All you can do is sue.

Oh. My bad. I guess they did think it through.

    lc in reply to irv. | March 12, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    I think they want “open borders” universities, in that anyone who wants to get in should be able to go- for free!

    artichoke in reply to irv. | March 12, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    They don’t want to prepare. They want to be admitted for their other attributes, ahead of those grinds who otherwise are out-preparing and outperforming them.

healthguyfsu | March 12, 2020 at 1:55 pm

There are plenty of free resources to study for these tests.

“SAT and ACT exams are discriminatory because they have created a lucrative test-prep industry that is out of reach for many low-income families.”

Is it really necessary to point out that “Barron’s SAT Premium Study Guide with 7 Practice Tests” and similar books work just as well as more costly test preparation? Assuming the student has the discipline to use them, of course.

Although the real culprit here remains creeping credentialism.

And what drives that? Well, “disparate impact” legal precedent, mostly, as this makes it too risky for employers to just test for the skills and aptitudes they seek.

Yet instead of attacking the root cause, these fools apparently wish to use that very root cause to cancel one of the few ways that talented students with unpromising high school grades can show they have the ability to handle college-level academics.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Albigensian. | March 12, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    Although the real culprit here remains creeping credentialism.

    And what drives that? Well, “disparate impact” legal precedent, mostly, as this makes it too risky for employers to just test for the skills and aptitudes they seek.

    Those lines alone are worth far more than the one uptick I can give you.

    Anonamom in reply to Albigensian. | March 13, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    Khan Academy links to the College Board to provide targeted test practice after the PSAT (which many states administer free of charge.) And both services offer fee waivers for need.

    This is such a load of hooey. Standardized tests are the ticket out for low-income, high IQ students. Eliminating them will hurt them the most.

They should sue Obammy for putting the idea in their heads that college was a reasonable and possible future for them.

College is a combo of smarts and effort. You need both. The smartest kid that I knew at Oberlin flunked out after his sophomore year because of 5% effort. If I were a recruiter and I saw a smart kid with bad grades then I would look for the hidden red flags.

The plaintiffs argue that SAT and ACT exams are discriminatory because they have created a lucrative test-prep industry that is out of reach for many low-income families.

I did well on the SATs without any test prep assistance. I recall what my high school geometry teacher told us about how to prepare for the standardized test we were going to take for our geometry final: “Get a good night’s sleep.” Excellent advice.

College Board has posted at least 8 old SAT’s, and there’s free Khan Academy help. Everyone can prepare, for free. There’s not much other magic that expensive tutors can provide.

The tests do indeed show an achievement gap. If it’s there, shouldn’t we know about it?

The Friendly Grizzly | March 12, 2020 at 8:28 pm

How many of those whining are wanting to gain entrance for a real major, and how many are there for grievance studies?

Standards? We don’t need no stinkin’ standards. Let us in because we say so or we’ll sue you.

Is there any evidence that the expensive test preps give more than a trivial improvement in test scores?

Even if they do, I suspect it’s a placebo effect. I saw too many of my classmates worry so much about exams that they greatly underperformed. If having your parents drop the price of a small car on test prep gives you confidence, it might be worth it … if you have rich parents. But you don’t need rich parents to score well on the SAT, and I suspect that any other system would give the rich more effective ways of manipulating it.

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