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Can the UC admissions situation get any more bonkers? Apparently, yes.


Whether you're a high school student, a parent, or an educator (I'm the third one!), you're probably aware of what's been going on re: the University of California system and the SAT/ACT tests. In May, the Board of Regents announced that, for students applying for admission to a UC in Fall 2021 or 2022, taking the SAT/ACT would be "optional." What does that mean, exactly? Well, I blogged about it at length earlier this summer. Since then, three campuses - Irvine, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz - decided not to use test scores in admissions decisions at all, and a very recent court decision mandates that the other six schools might not have a choice - at least for now.

Today, it was reported that Judge Brad Seligman of the Alameda County Superior Court ruled in favor of a group of plaintiffs who claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it too difficult for students with disabilities to receive necessary accommodations at testing sites. Because many of these students are virtually unable to take the SAT/ACT, they would not be able to benefit from the application-boost other students might receive from submitting high scores. So does that mean UC is now prohibited from using test scores in admissions decisions?

Well, yes - but it might only be for a limited time. Judge Seligman has issued a preliminary injunction, which means that UC can't use test scores while the lawsuit is ongoing (i.e. for the time being). The next court date is scheduled for September 29. If the plaintiffs ultimately win the suit, today's ruling will hold, but if they lose, it's likely that the remaining six UC campuses will revert back to the original "test-optional" policy.

So what should students do?

As an educator, I recommend that any student applying to the UC system who was already planning to take the SAT/ACT or send in existing test scores before today's ruling should still plan to do so. Just like so many things in 2020, it seems UC's test policy is up in the air, and those anxious for a final decision will just have to wait. For now, stay calm and don't wait to hydrate. I'll keep you updated.

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