The UCSB division of the Academic Senate unanimously endorsed a proposal to continue the use of standardized tests in the University of California admissions process on Thursday. The Academic Senate is a UC-wide body comprised of faculty members that is responsible for all academic decisions.

The proposal came from the Board on Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS), a committee of the Academic Senate. The recommendation states that standardized tests provide useful information as a supplement to an applicant’s high school grade-point average, and that admissions tests should be used to determine minimum eligibility for the UC system and for admission to specific campuses.

BOARS did, however, recommend a new statement of principles to guide the selection of admissions tests. In particular, the board stressed the use of achievement rather that aptitude-style tests and tests that measure a student’s achievement in a high school curriculum.

The recommendations reflect the current UC admissions policy, which weighs high school GPA, SAT II and SAT I/ACT in descending order. BOARS also stated, however, that none of the tests currently used meet its standards for a comprehensive examination.

The proposal calls for a battery of tests including two components: one core achievement examination covering reading, writing and mathematics, approximately three hours in length, and two one-hour examinations in subject areas covered by UCSB’s general education requirements, allowing the student to choose the subjects.

“Generally, this is not making any changes but it is pointing us in a direction of how we do things in the future.” UCSB Academic Senate Chair Richard Watts said.

The statement of principles is intended to result in a set of tests with greater breadth and rigor than the SAT I and ACT. The BOARS proposal states that the use of admissions tests that are tied to the college preparatory curriculum in high school would “send a clear message to students, parents and schools that what matters most is achievement in school, not mastery of test-taking skills. Students should prepare for college by taking and excelling in rigorous courses.”

The proposal will be reviewed by faculty systemwide this spring and, if endorsed by the Assembly of the Academic Senate – the UC-wide legislative body of the Senate – it will be submitted to the UC Board of Regents for approval, tentatively scheduled for the board’s July 2002 meeting.

New testing requirements would, at the earliest, affect the fall 2006 freshman class, in order to leave time to develop tests and make students aware of the new requirements. There would be no interim change in UC’s testing requirements, which includes either the SAT I or ACT and three SAT II Subject Tests.

In other business on Thursday, the UCSB Academic Senate also unanimously endorsed the proposal for a joint doctorate program in educational leadership between UCSB and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The focus of the program would be non-urban school districts, and would include research in professional development districts, a fixed time to degree and an annual dissemination of student research findings at summer institutes.

“The Ed.D. is more analogous to an M.D. than a Ph.D. with its emphasis on advanced technical training for the solving of real problems,” Graduate Council Chair Josh Schimel said. “The program is to train people for the administration of schools and community colleges.”

UCSB would offer theoretical core courses in educational leadership as well as in-depth training in research methodology. Cal Poly would offer specialized seminars to engage students in the study and application of key leadership/administrative topics in schools and school districts.

Local K-12 school districts and community colleges would form and support the professional development districts for doctoral students to research, giving them the opportunity to design solutions to real-world educational problems.

“The net gain from this effort is to satisfy the practical need for more educational leadership in the state as well as enhancing UCSB’s ability to use field-based research,” Professor of Education Michael Gerber said.