In a move that puts California’s public universities squarely at the forefront of the national trend away from standardized testing, the California state university system will eliminate the SAT and ACT exams from admissions requirements, decided officials on Wednesday.
California State University’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the change, aligning the nation’s largest four-year college system with the “no-test” admissions process already adopted by the University’s college system. from California.
The California State University system enrolls 477,000 students in its 23 colleges across the state, while the 10 colleges of the University of California enroll over 280,000 students.
The University of California board of trustees voted last year to eliminate the requirement for admission to standardized tests at its undergraduate schools, which include the prestigious campuses of UC Berkeley and UCLA. .
Acting Cal State System Chancellor Steve Relyea welcomed the decision, saying it would help “level the playing field and provide greater access to a high-quality college degree for students of all ages.” horizons”.
Critics have long argued that standardized tests disadvantage minority and low-income college applicants and act as a barrier to admission. They noted that wealthier students or their parents have the money to pay for expensive standardized test prep classes that help boost their scores.
“Essentially, we’re eliminating our reliance on a high-stress, high-stakes test that has shown negligible benefit,” Relya said in a statement.
Public universities in California, like many across the country, suspended exams during the pandemic and did not require them during the college admissions process in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years.
Amid the pandemic, more than 1,800 colleges and universities, or nearly 80% of U.S. four-year campuses, have adopted optional or no-score testing policies for applicants in fall 2022, Bob Schaeffer said, executive director of FairTest, a Boston-based company. anti-test group.
The decision by the Cal State and University of California college systems to make this ban permanent “will set a standard for public higher education across the country,” Schaeffer said.
“It’s no coincidence that so many other public systems, literally from Washington State to Maine, now have similar policies. The whole country is watching California and largely following the state’s lead,” he said.
Students can still choose to submit SAT or ACT scores which will not be considered for admissions purposes but could help with their placement for English and math courses, the Cal system spokeswoman said. State, Toni Molle.
The system had suspended the standardized test requirement during the pandemic, instead basing admission on what it called a “multifactor admissions score” that allowed campuses to take into account high school grade point averages, extracurricular activities and leadership roles as well as whether applicants were first-generation students or came from schools with a high percentage of low-income students.
A system-wide advisory board of faculty, students, administrators, and student leaders was tasked with considering whether to drop testing and recommended the change to the system’s board of trustees. colleges in Cal State.
Board administrator Diego Arambula said it was important to drop the requirement because “the reduction in stress and inequity that currently exists today is huge”.
Administrator Yammilette Rodriguez said dropping standardized tests would help students avoid what she experienced at a rural high school that she said “lacked academic support.”
She had a 4.0 grade point average but failed the SAT deadlines and didn’t take the test — and so had to attend community college before she could transfer to California State University, Fresno.
“I’m a proud product of CSU and would have been an even earlier product if I could have gotten into freshman grade,” Rodriguez said. “I know my story is the same for many across California. It will change the lives of many.