Saul Geiser

Job title: 
Senior Associate
Bio/CV: 

Saul Geiser is a research associate at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from UC Berkeley and taught there before joining UC’s Office of the President in 1981. Geiser served as director of admissions research for the UC system after Californians voted to end affirmative action in 1996, and he helped redesign UC admissions policy.  His work has focused on issues of equity and validity in college admissions, with the aim of identifying admissions criteria that have less adverse impact on low-income and minority applicants while remaining valid indicators of student preparedness for college. Geiser’s work has contributed to the development of a number of new admissions policies, including UC's policy on Eligibility in the Local Context, which guaranteed admission to the top four percent (and now top nine percent) of students in each California high school. His research was influential in the UC Regents’ decision in 2020 to phase out the SAT and ACT in university admissions.

Selected Publications 

NORM-REFERENCED TESTS AND RACE-BLIND ADMISSIONS: The Case for Eliminating the SAT and ACT at the University of California, by Saul Geiser. Chapter 1 in J. Soares (ed.) (2020), The Scandal of Standardized Tests (New York and London: Teachers College Press).

SAT/ACT SCORES, HIGH-SCHOOL GPA, AND THE PROBLEM OF OMITTED VARIABLE BIAS: Why the UC Taskforce’s Findings are Spurious, by Saul Geiser, UC Berkeley CSHE 1.20 (March 2020).

COMMENTARY: UC Regents Should Consider Impact of College Admissions Tests on Public Schools, with Michael Kirst. Ed Source, March 18, 2020.

A PROPOSAL TO ELIMINATE THE SAT IN BERKELEY ADMISSIONS, by Saul Geiser, UC Berkeley CSHE 4.16 (May 2016).

EXPANDING OFF-CAMPUS ENROLLMENT CAPACITY AT BERKELEY: A Concept Paper, by Saul Geiser, UC Berkeley CSHE 2.17 (February 2017).

EDITORIAL: The Big Problem with the New SAT, with Richard C. Atkinson. (May 2015). New York Times.com.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: Freshman Admissions at the University of California, 1994 to the Present and Beyond, by Saul Geiser, UC Berkeley CSHE 4.14 (April 2014).

BEYOND THE MASTER PLAN: The Case for Restructuring Baccalaureate Education in California, with Richard C. Atkinson. (January 2013). California Journal of Politics and Policy, vol. 4, 67-123.

REFLECTIONS ON A CENTURY OF COLLEGE ADMISSIONS TESTS, with Richard C. Atkinson. (December 2009). Educational Researcher, 38 (9), 665-676.

EDITORIAL: The Advanced Placement Juggernaut, by Saul Geiser. (December 2009). New York Times.com.

BOOK REVIEW: Addressing the Graduation Gap, with Richard C. Atkinso. Science, 325 (5946), 343-1344 (September 2009). Review of W. Bowen, M. Chingos, and M. McPherson, Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Public Universities, Princeton University Press, 2009.

BACK TO THE BASICS: In Defense of Achievement (and Achievement Tests) in College Admissions, by Saul Geiser, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning (January/February 2009),41(1), 16-23. Prepublication version available online.

NOT SO FAST! A Second Opinion on a University of California Proposal to Endorse the New SAT, by Saul Geiser. UC Berkeley CSHE 16.08 (November 2008).

VALIDITY OF HIGH-SCHOOL GRADES IN PREDICTING STUDENT SUCCESS BEYOND THE FRESHMAN YEAR: High-School Record vs. Standardized Tests as Indicators of Four-Year College Outcomes, with Veronica Santelices. UC Berkeley CSHE 9.07 (June 2007).

THE ROLE OF ADVANCED PLACEMENT AND HONORS COURSES IN COLLEGE ADMISSIONS, with Veronica Santelices (2006). In P. Gandara, G. Orfield, and C. Horn (editors), Expanding Opportunity in Higher Education, Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Prepublication version available online.

UC AND THE SAT: Predictive Validity and Differential Impact of the SAT I and SAT II at the University of California, with R. Studley (2002). Educational Assessment, 8, 1-26. Prepublication version available online.

Suggested Links 

The UC System Has Officially Gone Test Optional. What Now? Inside the University of California’s Bold Move to Reinvent Admissions Amid a Pandemic, by Josh Marcus. California Magazine (Fall 2020).

Go Ahead, California, Get Rid of the SAT, by Paul Tough. New York Times (May 5, 2020).

 

Research interests: 

University Admissions
Racial Equity
Standardized Testing
Higher Education Policy
University of California

Role: 

CONTACT

Office:
Center for Studies in Higher Education
University of California, Berkeley
771 Evans Hall #4650
Berkeley, CA 94720-4650

Publications

Saul Geiser
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS), 2016
Saul Geiser
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS), 2015
Saul Geiser; Richard C. Atkinson
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS), 2010
Saul Geiser; Richard C. Atkinson
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS), 2010
Richard C. Atkinson; Saul Geiser
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS), 2009
Richard C. Atkinson; Saul Geiser
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS), 2009
Saul Geiser
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS), 2008
Saul Geiser
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS), 2008
Saul Geiser
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS), 2008
Saul Geiser
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS), 2008
Saul Geiser; Veronica Santelices
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS), 2004
Saul Geiser; Veronica Santelices
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS), 2004