Supreme Court’s Rejection of Race-Conscious College Admissions Heightens Need for Eliminating Use of Standardized Tests in Admissions; Holistic Process Necessary to Maintain Diversity and Justice

The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), the long-term leader of the test-optional admissions movement in higher education, reacted to today’s Supreme Court decision on race-conscious policies by urging colleges and high schools to accelerate the de-emphasis of standardized tests in the admissions process.

FairTest Executive Director Harry Feder said, “Performance on the ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, and LSAT is closely tied to race and socio-economic status. With the new Supreme Court requirement to eliminate “race-conscious” factors, efforts to de-emphasize standardized exam scores in admissions and financial aid must accelerate. While the Court claimed that Harvard and UNC’s compelling interests in using race as a factor in admissions failed strict scrutiny because they couldn’t be ‘measured’, relying on standardized test numbers for admissions under a canard of ‘merit’ measures the very illegal classifications the Equal Protection Clause was designed to eliminate.”

Bob Schaeffer, FairTest’s Public Education Director explained, “Undergraduate admissions offices should maintain ACT/SAT-optional and test-blind/score free practices now in place at more than 1,900 bachelor-degree granting institutions. Graduate and professional programs should eliminate GRE, LSAT, GMAT and MCAT requirements. Test scores of all types should be ignored in the financial aid process. And admissions offices should stop purchasing recruitment lists based on student test-scores, which also reflect racial factors.”

Feder, a former public-school teacher and attorney, added, “High school counselors can help by ensuring that no standardized test scores of any sort appear on transcripts because of their correlations with students’ race. They should also make certain that contextual information about availability of AP, International Baccalaureate, and similar programs at the school is included in information sent to colleges. Finally, counselors should help students understand which colleges and universities evaluate applicants in a manner that truly eliminates all ‘race conscious’ factors.”

Feder concluded, “Because they are among the most ‘race conscious’ of all factors and there is no compelling interest for universities to rely upon them for admissions decisions, standardized exam results should not be used to determine access to higher education. Test scores do not measure ‘merit.’”

Founded in 1985 by leaders of civil rights, educator reform, student, and feminist groups, FairTest launched the ACT/SAT-optional movement more than three decades ago and help extend it to graduate school with the rapidly expanding GRExit campaign. The organization

submitted an Amicus Brief backing Harvard and the University of North Carolina in the Supreme Court cases decided today.