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KPBS Midday Edition

How the pandemic led universities to rethink standardized testing

An undated aerial shot of University of San Diego's campus.
University of San Diego
An undated aerial shot of University of San Diego's campus.

Many colleges and universities across the country, including the largest ones in San Diego, have suspended the use of standardized tests in admissions decisions for undergraduate students, at least for the foreseeable future.

As high school students finish their college applications for Tuesday's deadline for the University of California and California State University schools, one part of their application that is not needed this year is their standardized test score. Both the UC and Cal State systems have suspended the use of the ACT and SAT examinations both for the 2021-22 and the 2022-23 academic classes.

Other local universities, such as the University of San Diego, have also suspended testing requirements. Stephen Pultz, assistant vice president for enrollment at the University of San Diego, joined Midday Edition on Monday to talk about how the policy change has impacted the university and its students.


Though data on student outcomes is still being analyzed, Pultz said the university saw signs of encouragement when looking at the makeup of this year's incoming class at USD.

"We ended up having the most racially and ethnically diverse class that we've ever had," he said. "So we made the decision that we would continue that process, and continue our holistic admissions process without the test for another year, as we continue to gather data about its effectiveness."

He also said the university hopes to make a long-term decision on its testing policy early next year.