Cal State University ends use of SAT, ACT tests for undergraduate admissions

A tutor goes over SAT test preparation with 11th grader. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

California State University will no longer use the SAT or ACT tests to help determine who gets admitted as an undergraduate, university officials decided Wednesday. 

The university's Board of Trustees unanimously approved the change following a resolution by the Committee on Education Policy to amend Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations. 

The change reflects the permanent adoption of a policy that was implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic for academic years 2021-22 and 2022-23. That change was meant to alleviate hardships caused by the pandemic and harmful impacts to potential applicants. 

"This decision aligns with the California State University's continued efforts to level the playing field and provide greater access to a high-quality college degree for students from all backgrounds," said Acting Chancellor Steve Relyea in a statement.  

"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," Relyea said. 

Before suspending the use of the SAT and ACT test because of the pandemic, Cal State University officials had been discussing the role of standardized tests in undergraduate admissions. 

Then a review a year ago found that the test provided very little value to the admissions process.

Two months ago, Cal State University's Admission Advisory Council recommended ending the use of SAT and ACT tests in admissions decisions. 

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Cal State University considered other factors in Wednesday's decision, including equity, fairness, academic preparation, and among other things, research on standardized testing. 

Cal State University will use practices like the ones it used during the pandemic to make admission decisions, which includes taking several factors into consideration.