Since 2007, Michigan has administered the ACT statewide to all high school juniors but education officials announced Jan. 7 that the state will switch to the SAT beginning in 2016.
Michigan will join Delaware, Idaho, and the District of Columbia, in statewide testing of the New York-based College Board’s exam during the school day free of charge to students. ACT Inc., based in Iowa City, Iowa, has dominated the testing market for juniors with statewide contracts in 19 states.
Each organization also has contracts to administer its exams with a number of individual districts. (For a look at the landscape of testing, see “State Initiatives Widen Reach of ACT and SAT.”)
The College Board won the $17 million, three-year Michigan contract after an open bidding process.
"[The SAT] was better aligned with our state standards. It was rated higher by those who scored it” in the procurement process, said Martin Ackley, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Education in a phone interview. “It came in considerably lower, cost-wise, than ACT, so it was considered a better value.”
Under the contract, Michigan high school students will receive free test-preparation materials and online practice tests this spring to help prepare them for the redesigned SAT next year. The College Board has also agreed to provide professional development for teachers, testing administrators, and college enrollment professionals in the state.
Cyndie Schmeiser, the chief of assessment for the College Board, said in a statement that her organization was committed to a seamless transition to the SAT and helping districts learn to interpret results to encourage college- and career-readiness.
According to a press release from the Michigan education department, ACT Inc. will continue to provide WorkKeys, its job skills assessment, to all high school students, which it has done since 2008. The department noted that all contracts still must receive final approval from the Michigan State Administrative Board.
A version of this news article first appeared in the College Bound blog.