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Half a century ago, the University of California helped catapult the SAT to a place of national prominence in the college admission process when it began requiring all applicants to take the test and report their score.

Now the UC system, by its sheer size and influence as the nation’s premier public research university, is again poised to play an outsized role in the future of standardized testing in America as its leaders consider whether to drop both the SAT and ACT as an admissions requirement.

Although the standardized tests are predictive of college performance, particularly at selective universities, they are increasingly seen as an unfair admission barrier to students who don’t test well or don’t have the means to access or pay for pricey test preparation. Decades of research has shown that scores are strongly influenced by family income, parents’ education and race.

The looming question is how UC officials will move to address the clearly documented flaws of the test. If they choose to throw out the SAT and the ACT, another popular test, will they find a better replacement?

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