CSU to suspend standardized testing requirement in the wake of COVID-19

Sloane Bozzi, Assistant Campus Editor

The California State University system announced on April 17 that it will be suspending the use of standardized test scores for admission consideration during the 2020-2021 school year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This exception is only temporary, and applies to all CSU campuses for the fall 2021, winter 2022 and spring 2022 admissions cycles.

“This temporary change will ensure equitable access to the university, and should provide some measure of relief to prospective students and their families,” Chancellor Timothy P. White said in a press release.

Each of the CSU’s 23 campuses will determine which additional factors will be used to determine eligibility. Factors such as household income and extracurricular involvement will be considered for applicants, in addition to the minimum 2.5 GPA requirement for California residents.

Reporting SAT and ACT test scores to the CSU system wasn’t previously required for California residents with a high school GPA of 3.00 or higher. If applying to an impacted campus, students would have normally been required to send test scores in addition to meeting the GPA requirements.

CSUN is one of the impacted campuses for first-time freshmen, which means that CSUN receives more applicants than available spots for appropriate state funding. With the exception of impacted programs and majors, CSUN gives priority to first-time applicants within the local geographic area.

Although test scores will not be considered in the admissions process for impacted majors, each impacted school and program may require a higher threshold for admissions.

“Our admissions office is still finalizing which of these factors we’re going to use here at Northridge,” President Dianne F. Harrison said.

Harrison explained that the number of “A-G” courses a student completed, in addition to the GPA earned in those courses, may be evaluated. Factors such as extracurriculars or participation in high school programs like Advancement Via Individual Determination or the TRIO Upward Bound program can have an impact on a student’s admission to CSUN.

For transfer students, the relationship between CSUN and local community colleges can influence the admissions decision.

“We have relationships that exist already with several of our local community colleges where we give them preference for admission over others,” Harrison said. “There are really many other factors that we can use besides SAT and ACT to look at students who are applying.”

The University of California system set the tone for the CSU system to follow earlier this month, when it announced on April 1 that it would be suspending the use of standardized test scores to determine eligibility.

The decision to suspend the use of these test scores is due in part to the fact that many high school students were unable to take the SAT and ACT exams.

Following the procedures of COVID-19 emergency, the College Board canceled many of its spring SAT testing dates, with continued cancellations up to June.

As the high school class of 2020 prepares to graduate, the class of 2021 is expected to be the most impacted. The College Board said 1 million high school juniors who were set to take the SAT will remain untested, according to reports from the Washington Post.

The College Board has announced it will be proctoring online standardized tests, should schools remain closed into the fall. The Board has already announced it will be moving advanced placement tests online for nearly 3 million AP students.