CSU drops standardized tests; critic finds trend worrisome

CSU drops standardized tests; critic finds trend worrisome

CSU drops standardized tests; critic finds trend worrisome

California State University – the largest public university system in the United States – is the latest contingent of colleges to make the move towards lower academic standards.

The Cal State system, which comprises 23 campuses across The Golden State, recently announced it will no longer consider ACT or SAT scores in determining applications for undergraduate admissions. Instead, CUS will use a "multi-faceted admission criteria" to determine eligibility.

David Randall, research director of the National Association of Scholars, suspects CSU is leaning toward adding a radical ethnics studies course as a requirement for admissions.

Randall, David (NAS) Randall

"They're now trying to figure out how to use them to change [the] high school curriculum," he states, "without even the barest mention of going through the legislature and the State Education Department."

Alongside California, campuses in Oregon and Washington State have also dropped the SAT and ACT requirements. Other states, says Randall, are sure to follow this example. The Cal State system's decision comes after that of the University of California, which last year voted to do away with standardized tests.

"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 of all backgrounds," says Cal State's acting chancellor Steve Relyea.

"In essence," he continues, "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."

The ACT opposes this trend and insists students will be harmed by the move. "Abandoning the use of objective assessments […] introduces greater subjectivity and uncertainty into the admissions process," the testing company claims, "and this decision is likely to worsen entrenched inequities in California.

"Troubling differentials in educational outcomes and performance," the company continues, "appear in the same way for academic measures like high school GPA as they do for standardized exams."

Randall sees the trend as just another step toward complete government control of education in the U.S.

"There has to be a concerted effort – not just on any one issue, but overall – for the people to reassert control over all of these out-of-control bureaucracies, which are trying to establish arbitrary government in every aspect of education," he urges.

The CSU system educates nearly half a million students each year.