(Washington, D.C.) – A coalition of education and civil rights advocates led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law called on 30 major universities to immediately end their consideration of SAT/ACT scores for student admissions in a letter today. The groups called on the schools to commit to an equity-based admissions approach in 2020 and beyond that would lead to improved student diversity.
In urging these reforms, the groups’ letter cites the SAT/ACTs’ well-established flaws and built-in biases, including research showing that test scores do not meaningfully predict a student’s success in college, and that high standardized test scores are more closely correlated with race, wealth and parental education than other metrics such as high school grades. The SAT and ACT pose significant barriers to equal educational opportunity while providing no compelling value in admissions. COVID-19 has exacerbated the tests’ biases and defects.
“Colleges must act now to address the ways in which their systemic and historical admissions practices perpetuate and deepen racial inequality,” said David Hinojosa, director of the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “For dozens of highly-resourced colleges still mandating the submission of SAT/ACT tests, there is no justification for continuing to consider the tests, which provide no meaningful information and lock out talented students of color and other marginalized groups. This practice must end and colleges must commit to the most equity-based admissions approach.”
More than a thousand colleges have stopped requiring the SAT/ACTs, with most experiencing
marked gains in diversity and excellence across their student
body. Dozens more – from
state flagships to Ivy League institutions – have dropped the requirement in
recent months with the spread of COVID-19. Others, faced with lawsuits arguing that the tests discriminate against students based
on wealth, race and disability status, have also ended the practice.
Despite this rapid momentum to drop the test, far too many top universities have stubbornly maintained the requirements. The Lawyers’ Committee identified 30 highly-resourced, highly-ranked colleges and flagship universities in high-minority states whose admissions websites still require college applicants to submit SAT/ACT scores. Institutions are asked to respond by July 10.
The letter sent to colleges can be found here. The institutions receiving the letter include:
Florida State University
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
Louisiana State University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Texas A & M University-College Station
The University of Alabama
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
The University of Texas at Austin
University of Arkansas
University of Florida
University of Georgia
University of Maryland-College Park
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Notre Dame
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus
University of South Carolina-Columbia
University of Wisconsin-Madison
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.