Chancellor Wilcox expresses his belief that the UC should not drop SATs from admissions

On Tuesday, Feb. 18, the Los Angeles Times (LAT) published an Op-Ed written by UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox in which Wilcox wrote that dropping the SATs could make UC admissions more biased. 

In an interview with The Highlander, Wilcox stated that he believes eliminating the SATs from the admissions process would impact inequities by placing all of the focus on the one remaining quantitative measure: high school grade point average. “Many people who have studied college admissions will tell you that grade inflation – the tendency of more affluent schools to give higher grades – poses a greater problem than standardized tests,” stated Wilcox. 

Wilcox wrote in his Op-Ed that the UC faculty taskforce found that the UC system has been able to offset such bias by including other relevant factors in admissions. He stated in the Op-Ed that he believes that, “as a practical matter, eliminating the tests could make inequities worse. Doing so would mean relying more heavily on other measures that are equally biased or more so, like high school grades.” 

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At least one major study asserts that the GPA gap between affluent schools and those serving lower-income students is growing wider in recent years, stated Wilcox. He wrote, “If we drop the SAT and ACT, there will be more pressure on ever to get the highest possible grades. That very likely means wealthy parents paying tutors more money, more extra credit for A’s at affluent schools, more pressure for greater grade inflation.” The SAT – when weighted in the proper socioeconomic context – can provide some insulation against grade inflation, according to Wilcox. 

Wilcox stated that UCR has assured that they offset SAT testing bias because UCR gives specific weight to both first-generation and low-income students in its admissions process. UCR also evaluates SATs in the context of the student’s high school and neighborhood. “That way, we can better identify the true standouts,” stated Wilcox. 

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