Hundreds of thousands of families are fascinated and/or downright obsessed with who is admitted to the more prestigious University of California public colleges, such as UCLA and Berkeley. Yet the mainstream media has done very little reporting on the radical changes in who gets in at some of the top six campuses due to the University of California deciding in 2021 in the name of racial equity to permanently go not just “test-optional” but test-forbidden (following affirmative action being crushingly rejected by even the liberal and diverse California electorate in 2020). You aren’t allowed to submit your SAT score or your ACT score to any UC campus.
You’d think the L.A. Times might want to look into a topic of interest to its dwindling reader-base, but I guess not.
A fellow named Steve Miller has been digging into 2022’s data compared to 2020’s (which I wrote up in Taki’s Magazine in “Low-Grade Fever“). He’s got some broader data now:
Here’s his graph with all six colleges visible:
My guess: UCLA and UC Davis still look at high school grade point averages with Advanced Placement course grades counting 1.0 extra. This boost accounts for the absurdly high GPAs at, say, UCLA on a 0 to 4 scale:
GPA of middle 25%-75% students: 4.21–4.33
But the other four UC colleges perhaps switched to class rank percentile, so, say, a 4.3 in the 70th percentile at challenging, AP-intensive, mostly Chinese Arcadia HS (where percent accepted to UC San Diego plummeted from 35% in 2020 to 13% in 2022) was suddenly worse than a 3.9 in the 80th percentile at weak all-Hispanic San Fernando HS, where there is less demand for AP courses. (Note, I just made up those GPAs to illustrate what I think happened.)
Traditionally, if you take an AP class and get an A, UC schools will count that on the 0 to 4 scale of GPA as a 5.0. Thus the usual absurdly high HS GPAs at UC schools.
Weirdly, for UC Admissions, it doesn’t matter what score you get on the AP test, just that you took the AP class.
A reasonable compromise would be to reduce the AP boost to the 0 to 4 scale HS GPA from 1.0 to 0.5, as once recommended by a panel of UC faculty experts who’d studied admissions.
But then also count scores on AP tests taken through the junior year into HS GPA so that somebody who took, say, the U.S. History AP test or the hard Chemistry AP test and got a 5 (the top score) gets a bigger GPA boost than somebody who took it and got a 1 (the bottom score).
In truth, colleges don’t put all that much weight on Advanced Placement test scores, but rather on simply taking an AP class. UCs traditionally boost GPA by 1.0 points in AP classes, so an A counts as a 5.0 on your 0-4 scale GPA… even if you flunk the AP test with a 1.
If you really hate the SAT/ACT because of all the Tiger Mothers sending their Tiger Cubs to endless test prep, well, have the kids test prep on something intrinsically good to know, like chemistry or history.
Of course, if you hate the SAT/ACT because some races are harder-working and/or smarter than your race, well…