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CSU scraps SAT, ACT tests in admissions process

sdsu campus san diego state university
Bennett Lacy
The San Diego State University campus before the 2022 spring semester begins.

The California State University system will abandon the use of SAT and ACT tests in its admission process, permanently adopting a policy today that was implemented on a temporary basis during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CSU Board of Trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to scrap the use of the standardized tests in admissions decisions, following the lead of the University of California, which abandoned the tests in 2020.

The CSU suspended use of the tests for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years due to the pandemic. Earlier this year, the CSU's Admission Advisory Council — including faculty, students and administrators — recommended that the tests be discontinued permanently in admissions decisions.

A Board of Trustees committee on Tuesday approved the idea, advancing it to the full board Wednesday.

Acting CSU Chancellor Steve Relyea said in a statement that the move is in line with the university system's "continued efforts to level the playing field and provide greater access to a high-quality college degree for students from all backgrounds."

"In essence, we are eliminating our reliance on a high-stress, high- stakes test that has shown negligible benefit and providing our applicants with greater opportunities to demonstrate their drive, talents and potential for college success," he added.

Critics have challenged the use of the standardized tests for college admissions, questioning their effectiveness and suggesting they create further hurdles for disadvantaged students.

The CSU will "utilize a multi-faceted admission criteria to determine student eligibility in lieu of standardized test scores," according to the system. The criteria focus primarily on students' performance in core subject classes, referred to as A-G courses, their grades in those classes and their graduation from high school.

Students can still take the SAT or ACT tests, and scores can be used to place them into appropriate-level math and English courses.