It’s been five years since Salisbury University in Maryland first announced it was making the SAT and ACT optional for applicants who had a 3.5 GPA in high school. Back when the policy was introduced, it was considered an experiment of sorts. This month, the university decided to make the policy permanent.

Student performance was one of the reasons for the decision to keep the test-optional policy. Students from the Fall 2007 freshman class who were admitted to the school under the new policy graduated at a slightly higher rate than students who submitted test scores. Course completion was also higher.

These facts support contentions that one of the best indicators of student success in college is not so much a high score on standardized tests, but good grades in a rigorous high school curriculum.

 “The pilot study has shown that test-optional students perform as well as their classmates and that the graduation rates of test-optional students are actually slightly higher, SU President Janet Dudly-Eshbach said in a statement.  “The program also has contributed to greater economic diversity among our incoming students, which we believe allows SU to better serve all the citizens of Maryland.”