The University of California is now prohibited from accepting standardized testing scores from prospective students.
According to CNN, a state court issued a preliminary injunction this week that prevents schools within the UC system from using SAT and ACT results as criteria for admissions and/or scholarships. The ruling was deemed a victory for students with disabilities who, according to a lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court, had limited access to the tests during the global health crisis.
"The current COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in restrictions in the availability of test sites," Judge Brad Seligman ruled. "While test-taking opportunities for all students have been limited, for persons with disabilities, the ability to obtain accommodations or even to locate suitable test locations for the test are 'almost nil'."
Back in May, UC's Board of Regents decided it would suspend the SAT and ACT requirements for admissions in the fall, stating the lockdown restrictions made it difficult for many students to take the tests. UC-Berkeley, UC-Irvine, and UC-Santa Cruz refused to accept standardized test results all together, while the remaining six UC campuses—UC-Davis, UC-Los Angeles, UC-Merced, UC-Riverside, UC-San Diego, and UC-Santa Barbara—implemented a "test option" policy, which gave students the opportunity to submit their scores and receive a "second look" during the admissions process.
Seligman ruled the "test option" gave an advantage to students without disabilities.
"Plaintiffs have shown that they are denied meaningful access to the additional 'benefit, aid or service' that the test option affords," he continued. "Unlike their non-disabled peers, they do not have the option to submit test scores; even if they did, their chances of obtaining necessary test accommodations are virtually non-existent."
The standardized testing requirement has long been criticized and debated. In late 2019, the UC system was sued over the requirement, as the plaintiffs argued it was both racial and economic bias as well as unconstitutional.
"It is illegal wealth and race discrimination that damages the futures of tens of thousands of deserving students each year, who could excel at U.C. campuses of their choice," Mark Rosenbaum, the plaintiffs' attorney, told the New York Times. "...There is no such thing as race-discrimination-optional, there is no such thing as wealth-discrimination-optional. It’s time that we cut that out of the process altogether."