Illinois school districts to shift provided standardized tests from ACT to SAT next year


The decision to switch the preferred standardized test in Illinois school districts from the ACT to the SAT has some scratching their heads (Internet Photo)

Eric Wong, Features Editor

Many sophomores in Illinois will find that the standardized testing procedures for their junior year will be drastically different as the state prepares to replace the American College Test, or ACT, with the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT, as the preferred standardized test.

This decision to switch tests comes after the ACT was made optional in 2015 after the ACT’s contract with the state as a required standardized test expired. The SAT, created by the College Board, was awarded a three-year contract amounting to $14.3 million with the state of Illinois, making the test free for juniors all throughout the state.

As the primary standardized test for 15 years for all the schools in the Midwest region, including Fremd High School, the decision has sparked backlash from both students and parents, who must now suddenly adjust their study plan for the test. ACT Inc. has also filed a formal protest of the new contract on the grounds that the College Board presented biased information in their proposals to the state. However, this protest was not recognized, and the state will be moving ahead with its plan to make the SAT the primary test.

Sophomore Pragya Malhotra believes that the shift from ACT to SAT will require the students studying for the various tests to shift gears in their preparation tactics as District 211 also adjusts to this shift.

“The shift from ACT to SAT will affect Fremd students because we’ve been preparing for the ACT. Now that Illinois has shifted to the SAT, we collectively need to find the most effective way to prepare ourselves for a test that we haven’t really prepared for,” Malhotra said. “I feel like the shift will come into play in class when we do practice testing, instead of taking old ACT tests, we will now take old SAT tests or the PSAT.”

Despite this change, some school districts are opting to continue to provide the ACT along with the SAT for their juniors. All ACT tests would be free for students, as the district would provide funding to cover the testing cost. Up to 90 Illinois districts will be offering both the ACT and SAT to their students in the 2016-2017 school year.

The SAT had remained a relatively East Coast test until January of last year, when the SAT was awarded a contract with the state of Michigan to be the primary standardized test. Similar backlash to that of Illinois’ ensued after the decision in Michigan was made.

For sophomore Ankit Singh however, the switch between the two standardized tests might only prove to be a temporary headache for both himself and the school in general.

“It probably at first is just going to be different, and then we would get used to it,” Singh said. “I’m planning to take both ACTs and SATs for college, so I don’t think it’s really going to affect me that much.”