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

The university’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the change Wednesday 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.”

Steve Relyea, CSU acting chancellor

“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, CSU 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.

CSU considered other factors in Wednesday’s decision, including equity, fairness, academic preparation, and among other things, research on standardized testing.

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

Testing just part of the admissions decision

An SAT or ACT score is just one data point or factor, said CSU East Bay’s dean of academic programs and services Maureen Scharberg, who oversees the freshman and sophomore success teams.

“I like to look at the data more holistically,” Scharberg said.

A standardized test doesn’t provide that, she said. She would rather see a transcript and a story.

Kathryn Palmieri, executive director of academic advising and career education at CSU East Bay, said removing the test from admissions decisions is one less hurdle for students to jump over.

“It really removes a barrier,” Scharberg said.

Preparing for a test costs money and time and most students cannot afford the commitment to do well, Palmieri said.

“It’s just not fair,” Scharberg said.

A lot of students cannot afford to pay for test preparation like others can.

“You ask if there’s a value added” to the tests, Scharberg said.

She said the CSU system has determined there is not a value added. She said educators should meet students where they are.

Do they need counseling? Scharberg said. Can they access the internet reliably?

The University of California recently stopped requiring the SAT and ACT test as part of its admissions process for California freshmen. But it may use a school-created test beginning in 2025.

Palmieri said there’s a place for the test at some schools.

“It just doesn’t predict” student success in college, Scharberg argued.