Drop your pencils. UC system ordered to eliminate SAT, ACT immediately.
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Last year, the UC system said standardized tests would be optional in the future. Mounting pressure around alleged cultural bias and the Varsity Blues bribery scandal led to that decision.
This week, a judge has ruled that the University of California cannot use the ACT or SAT standardized tests for admissions purposes because limited access to the tests now puts students with disabilities at a disadvantage. With that ruling, the University of California will have to drop the SAT and ACT requirement immediately. Many schools nationwide have already decided to ditch the tests.
“Truly, high school GPA is far and away the best predictor,” said Brian Troyer, Marquette University’s Dean of Undergraduate Admissions. His school went test free after finding the scores didn’t really say much about how well students would do in college.
Now COVID-19 is accelerating the move towards making tests optional. Many schools have at least temporarily suspended the use of the tests.
“We’re standing at a crossroads,” said David Hawkins, a spokesperson for the National Association for College Admission Counseling. “This COVID-19 disruption has short circuited the extensive discussions that many colleges have about going test optional.”
For years, advocates have argued that eliminating the standardized tests would help level the playing field for students who can’t afford hundreds of dollars for test prep tutoring.
David Gruenbaum coaches the college bound. He’s not too worried about his business — which is part of the billion dollar test-prep industry — taking a hit.
“What can they use to make decisions?” he said of admissions counselors. “Junior year — last year — was useless, the grades were completely worthless.”
So far, COVID has derailed students for two semesters, and standardized testing may not survive.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
So what’s up with “Zoom fatigue”?
It’s a real thing. The science backs it up — there’s new research from Stanford University. So why is it that the technology can be so draining? Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab puts it this way: “It’s like being in an elevator where everyone in the elevator stopped and looked right at us for the entire elevator ride at close-up.” Bailenson said turning off self-view and shrinking down the video window can make interactions feel more natural and less emotionally taxing.
How are Americans spending their money these days?
Economists are predicting that pent-up demand for certain goods and services is going to burst out all over as more people get vaccinated. A lot of people had to drastically change their spending in the pandemic because they lost jobs or had their hours cut. But at the same time, most consumers “are still feeling secure or optimistic about their finances,” according to Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, which regularly surveys shoppers. A lot of people enjoy browsing in stores, especially after months of forced online shopping. And another area expecting a post-pandemic boost: travel.
What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?
Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”
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