This is a bold move that places California's public universities in the forefront of national trends to drop standardized test.
The California State University Board of Trustees unanimously approved this change. It aligns the nation's largest four year university system with the "test-free" admissions process adopted by the University of California college systems.
California State University has 477,000 students in its 23 colleges throughout the state. The University of California's 10 colleges have over 280,000 students.
Last year, the University of California Board of Regents voted to abolish the standardized test admissions requirement for its undergraduate schools. This includes the prestigious campuses of UC Berkeley or UCLA.
Steve Relyea, acting Cal State system Chancellor, praised the decision and said it would help "level the playing fields" and allow students from all backgrounds to have greater access to a college degree.
Criticians have long claimed that standardized exams are a barrier to college admission for low-income and minority students. They also noted that wealthy students and their parents can afford expensive standardized exam preparation courses to help them improve their scores.
Relya stated in a statement that "in essence, we are eliminating reliance upon a high-stress high-stakes exam that has shown negligible benefits."
California's public universities suspended the exams as a precautionary measure during the pandemic. They did not require them for admission to college during the 2022-23 and 2021-22 academic years.
Bob Schaeffer (executive director of FairTest), a Boston-based antitesting group, stated that in the midst of the pandemic more than 1,800 colleges, or almost 80%, of U.S. four year campuses, adopted test-optional policies or scores-free policies for fall 2022 students.
Schaeffer stated that the decision of the University of California and Cal State college systems to make the ban permanent "sets a standard for public higher educational around the country."
"It's not an accident that many other public systems from Washington to Maine now have similar policies. He said that the whole country is now watching California closely and following its lead.
Toni Molle, spokeswoman for Cal State system, stated that students can still submit SAT and ACT scores. These scores will not be used for admissions purposes but may help them in their placement for English or math courses.
The system had suspended the requirement for standardized tests during the pandemic and instead used a "multi-factor admissions score" to admit students. This allowed campuses to take into account high school grades, extracurricular activities, leadership roles, as well as whether applicants are first-generation college students or come from schools with low percentages of low income students.
The systemwide advisory council, which included students, administrators, and faculty leaders, was charged with examining whether the tests should be dropped and recommended that the changes be made to the Cal State college system board.
Diego Arambula, Board Trustee, stated that it was important to eliminate the requirement as "reducing stress and inequity currently existing today are huge."
Trustee Yammilette Rodriguez stated that students will be able to drop standardized tests and avoid the same mistakes she made at a rural high-school she said was lacking college support.
She had a 4.0 average, but she missed the SAT deadlines. As a result, she had to attend a community college before she could transfer at California State University, Fresno.
Rodriguez stated, "I am proud to be a CSU product and I would have been a happy product even earlier if I could get in as a freshman." "I know my story is similar to many others across California. It will change many lives."