Colorado Exploring Delay in Switch From ACT to SAT

By Catherine Gewertz — January 05, 2016 1 min read
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Remember two weeks ago, when Colorado announced that it had dumped its longstanding 11th-grade test, the ACT, and decided instead to use the SAT? A backlash has slowed that train to a crawl, and a new compromise is being floated that would put off that switch for a year.

That’s the report we hear this morning from Chalkbeat Colorado. Commissioner Elliott Asp sent an email to district superintendents last night, saying that in the wake of feedback from students, parents, and teachers, the state is working with ACT and the College Board to keep the ACT for this school year as the required test for Colorado’s 11th graders, and switch to the SAT next school year, Chalkbeat reports.

“I know that this is a high-stakes assessment for students, with college entrance, placement, and scholarships on the line,” Asp wrote, according to Chalkbeat. “To require this year’s 11th graders to take the SAT exam this spring—after they have already invested time, money, and energy in preparing to take a different assessment—would not be in their best interest.”

A department spokeswoman emphasized that Asp’s proposal is only that—a proposal—right now. He circulated the idea because the department realized that announcing the switch in December, only months before the spring testing season, could demand too much change too quickly. Many students start preparing for college-admissions tests months in advance. Asp acknowledged as much in his letter.

"[T]he timing of the [procurement] process and the selection leaves this year’s 11th-grade students in a difficult position,” he said.

The award of the contract to the College Board is set to become final tomorrow evening, but presumably now is in question due to Asp’s proposal.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the High School & Beyond blog.