Illinois moves to SAT: what it means for students

The Illinois Board of Education revealed they will start using the SAT instead of the ACT for junior college entrance exams, but what does that mean for students?

The new SAT, made to be more similar to the ACT with fewer questions, longer sections, and a reduced cost, will make its debut in March 2016 and impact students in the class of 2017 or younger. Though this is a welcome change to some students, it might leave others at a loss during the transition, as the change has stopped some activities the school used to do to help prepare students for the ACT.

“Historically at ACT time, we have done things building wide to help them with the ACT,” Jeff Bivin, mathematics department chair, said. “We used to take a week to take juniors out of a class each day and look at test taking strategies. For example, say Tuesday was math, Wednesday was English, Thursday was science, and so on.”

The replacement class for this year’s juniors, the after school ACT prep class, may need to be changed to incorporate the new SAT. This may not be a bad thing though, as the new SAT could save the district a great deal of money.

“The [new] SAT scored higher [in comparison to] its competitor, the ACT, on a number of criteria, including cost,” Kerry Lester said in an article for the Daily Herald. “State officials estimate the test would cost $4.7 million a year during the three-year contract, with tests costing $33.30 per student. That’s almost $1.4 million less per year than the ACT.”

While the state is looking to replace the ACT, it is not out of the running yet, since
ACT filed a protest with the Illinois Board of Education, according to Stefano Esposito in an article for the Sun Times. Students will be able to take either test, but whether the SAT or ACT will become dominant in Illinois is yet to be determined.