College & Workforce Readiness

Illinois Finalizes Decision to Switch From ACT to SAT

By Catherine Gewertz — February 11, 2016 1 min read
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Illinois has finalized its decision to switch to the SAT after many years of requiring that its high school students take the ACT.

The state’s announcement Thursday represents the latest development in its halting journey to change college-readiness-test providers. As we reported in December, Illinois conducted a procurement process and decided to go with the College Board, but ACT Inc. filed a protest, so the decision has been up in the air.

In a brief statement, the state board of education recounted the history of the switch, and announced that the procurement process that resulted in the choice of the College Board “was conducted in accordance with the Illinois Procurement Code,” and that “the protest was denied.”

The state board will now begin negotiating a contract with the College Board to administer the SAT in 2015-16, according to state board of education spokeswoman Amanda Simhauser.

The ACT said in an email to Education Week that it is disappointed in the state’s decision, and still mulling over Illinois’ response to its protest.

Illinois’ move is just one of many that have been unfolding in the past year as the high school testing landscape shifts. Several states that had longstanding relationships with ACT changed to the SAT instead. Others threw over their own state tests, or PARCC or Smarter Balanced, and decided to use one of those college-entrance exams at the high school level instead.

Then there’s the added layer of accountability: A growing list of states will use the SAT or ACT for federal accountability purposes, raising a number of issues about valid measurement and what policymakers value in high school.

Keep following along with us here as we explore the shifts in high school testing.

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