If We Jettison Standardized Testing, What’s Its Replacement?

George Leef:

The COVID-19 pandemic probably won’t kill the SAT, but will no doubt leave it in a badly weakened condition.

Both the SAT (and its close competitor, the ACT) have had to cancel administration of their tests for the last few months and, according to this Washington Post story, universities have decided that they will make their admission decisions without those test scores.

Before COVID-19, support for standardized testing was already eroding and recent developments are sure to cause further slippage.

Undoubtedly, the greatest blow was the decision by the University of California (UC) system to stop relying on standardized tests and develop a new test of its own within five years. One opponent of standardized tests (quoted in this Los Angeles Times piece) declared that this marks “the beginning of the end” for the SAT.

Under the plan, UC schools will be “test optional” for incoming students this year and next. For the following two years, UC institutions would be “test blind” for California residents, meaning that SAT and ACT scores would not be used at all, although out-of-state students could still submit scores. And by 2025, the state will either have developed a completely new admissions test or, if no such test has been approved, the UC system will go completely test blind.