Instead, its final report concluded that “At UC, test scores are currently better predictors of first-year GPA than high school grade point average (HSGPA), and about as good at predicting first-year retention, [University] GPA, and graduation.” Not only that, it found: “Further, the amount of variance in student outcomes explained by test scores has increased since 2007 … Test scores are predictive for all demographic groups and disciplines … In fact, test scores are better predictors of success for students who are Underrepresented Minority Students (URMs), who are first generation, or whose families are low-income.” In other words, test scores remain the best indicator for continued performance in college.
That clearly was not the result Napolitano or some others wanted. So, she simply announced a cessation of the use of such scores in admissions. The system will go from two years of “optional” testing to a “test-blind” system until or unless it develops its own test.
Ending standardized testing will have a notable impact on legal challenges to the use of race in college admissions. Last November, Californians rejected a resolution to restore affirmative action in college admissions.
The Supreme Court has issued a series of 5-4 decisions that have ruled both for and against such race criteria admissions — but even justices supporting such systems have expressed reservations. The author of the 2003 majority opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger, Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, said she expected “that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.” That 25 years is about up.