To: The OSU Community

From: Edward Feser, Provost and Executive Vice President

January 17, 2020

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to bring to your attention that our Division of Enrollment Management has recommended that Oregon State University eliminate the requirement that applicants submit standardized test scores—the ACT or SAT—for consideration for freshman admission, and shift to a “test optional” approach.

Together with Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Jon Boeckenstedt, I am in the process of consulting with stakeholders about the recommendation, including the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, the University Cabinet, the leadership of ASOSU, the Provost’s Council of Deans, and other university stakeholders. On Jan. 23, the recommendation will be discussed with the Academic Strategies Committee of the OSU Board of Trustees and, on Feb. 13, with the Faculty Senate.

Vice Provost Boeckenstedt has prepared a white paper detailing the rationale behind Enrollment Management’s recommendation. I invite you to review the paper and join the discussion during the February Faculty Senate meeting. As you will see, if adopted, this recommendation would go into effect for the entering class of fall 2021.

Enrollment Management’s recommendation that OSU shift to a “test optional” approach in undergraduate admissions rests on the argument that requiring standardized test scores is inconsistent with our values as a land grant research university committed to inclusive excellence. These tests have limited demonstrated efficacy in predicting academic performance, and present concerns about a lack of equitable avenues to successful performance on them. Enrollment Management’s analysis indicates that this change will not affect the academic profile of our undergraduate student body or eliminate access for students who would have qualified under our current admissions criteria.

A number of universities around the country have shifted to a “test optional” admissions policy while others, including the University of California, are actively considering making a similar change.

Again, please share your views about this potential change in admissions policy, directly via this survey or through participation in the Faculty Senate meeting on Feb. 13.

Sincerely,

Edward Feser
Provost and Executive Vice President