Goodbye Blue Sky… And Red Right Along With It

Short Word 

I chose that phrase as the title of this note because the College Board has adopted Blue as the official color for its test materials — SAT to AP and more. 

ACT uses the color “brick red”. 

Where are they going? 

The U.C. Regents announced a 5 year plan to phase out the SAT and ACT. You can read about that here. You will have to work a bit harder to unpack what this all really means. Let’s walk through it together: 

Interpretation 

The language they are using is very important. It is chosen to shape a kind of direction that the campus officials in the U.C. System are going to be required to follow — or find work elsewhere.  

Phase out: This means over the next 5 years ACT and SAT scores will be given the following considerations as admissions factors: 

  • This year and next — optional 
  • 2022-2024 scores for in-state applicants not relevant 
  • 2022-2024 scores accepted for scholarship considerations, course placement and assessment of out-of-state students. 
  • 2025 scores on SAT or ACT will be eliminated.  

Feasibility Study: During the next 5 years, the University of California will conduct research on the feasibility of creating its own admissions test. Such a test will attempt to eliminate the perceived cultural and economic biases of the current tests. If the results of this study do not yield an adequate test at the end of the 5 year period, the consensus now seems to be that the admissions committees will continue to “remain blind” to scores submitted after 2025.  

What they specifically mean by “remain blind” has not been clarified in sufficient detail to serve as a ground for any reliable plan. What experience shows is that “some form” of stop gap measure will certainly be suggested. These details we will consider next. 

Implications 

California has been a genuine trail blazer in countless ways throughout history. From the Gold in the Hills to the Gold of Silicon Valley, California has often led the United States, if not the World in innovations. The U.C. Regents decision to “phase out” SAT and ACT scores represents what may be to the history of American education, what the minor “foreshocks” on the Hayward fault may be to California’s own volatile seismic history — a harbinger of doom.  

We can push the analogy a bit further however. Even if a serious seismic event does occur, that does not mean the end of seismic events in California. In the same way, say the event in California education spawns a crushing blow to SAT and ACT adherents nation — if not world — wide, it does not mean the end of educational testing. While “foreshocks” in Hayward might mean an end to life as we know it in Hayward, it does not mean the end of Hayward. You might as well say that an earthquake in California spells doom for California — hardly! 

And so is the case here. Now let’s examine what this really means: 

Forecasting 

We suggest the following concerns to be aware of — in order of importance: 

  1. Do NOT abandon practice for standardized testing 
    • Before there was a College Board or the ACT, there were individual tests, given by each local college or university, which were used to help those schools determine which students were academically ready for the particular demands of THAT institution.  
    • This move on the U.C. Regents part simply represents a move back toward that kind of “local” evaluation of applicants. 
    • There will be some form of admissions requirements, some way for ANY worthwhile college or university to evaluate students 
  2. Do GET Exceedingly General! 
    • Gone may be the days of SAT and ACT, but COMMON CORE is here to stay! 
    • Inside sources indicate that the general trend is that state sponsored standardsbased exams will become more important indicators of student college readiness.  
    • Instead of SAT and ACT being in charge of what this means, now the States will be increasingly relied upon to deliver a reliable “readiness” measure through their own testing systems.  
  3. Do be happy about these developments 
    • The SAT and ACT are essentially private institutions. They are not regulated nor subject to government standards. They never publish their data and continuously refuse outside review processes for their conclusions.  
    • The replacement of SAT and ACT testing by state sponsored tests which are available for public review, will enter an enormously longawaited sense of fairness in all areas. 
  4. Do still practice demonstrating that you have what is required of the institution you are interested in attending — this will never go away. 

In short, stay safe, stay studying, and don’t forget to stay sane! As much as things are changing, the principles of what make a student great remain the same. Of course if you want to talk to a BEEC Education Consultant about these changes or any other education needs, we are always here and can be contacted here. 

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