For 15 years, Illinois has offered high school juniors a free ACT test. But now they’ve dropped it, and are picking up the tab for students to take the SAT instead.
The company that administers the ACT is protesting the decision. That protest could stop the state’s new deal with SAT. But if it doesn’t – it’ll change how districts prepare for standardized tests.
Whether it’s the ACT or the SAT, for many high school juniors filling in the bubbles becomes a blur. Illini Tutoring in Champaign administers both tests and helps students get prepared. Scores from each help decide if a student gets money for college, or if they get in at all. Tutor Elizabeth Sotiropoulos says each test has its emphases.
“The ACT tests reading, math, English and science. The SAT is more of an aptitude test. What are you capable of learning?” she said.
For more than a decade, The ACT has been the test states in the Midwest chose to offer students for free.
The SAT is more common on the East Coast. Illinois’ three year deal with the company that administers the SAT is for $14.3 million.
Schools that had the best scores got more funding than schools that weren’t performing well on the ACT.
“Its surprising that they’re completely changing course when they’ve been offering this test for so long,” Sotiropoulos said.
The state wasn’t going to offer a college entrance exam at all in 2015, but a new law now requires one. The SAT bid to the state came in $1.37 million cheaper than the ACT’s.
Educators say the decision will change the course of how students are preparing for the tests and school. Almost all universities accept either test, but most schools in Illinois have prepared students for the ACT. If the deal with state regulators sticks, students will take a new version of the S-A-T beginning in March.