Illinois High Schools Convert to ACT for State Examination

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The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has made ACT mandatory for all high school juniors. Using SAT for several years, the ISBE chose to revert to ACT as the state standardized evaluation for juniors. The move becomes operational from the fresh academic session.


Change Rationale

“This year we requested diverse proposals inviting various examination bodies to bid our high school preparedness assessments. Indeed, ACT and SAT made bids where ACT emerged victorious due these two reasons lesser price and meeting our predetermined standards,” informed Tony Sanders, Illinois State Superintendent of Education. Henceforth, juniors would be taking ACT for both college admissions and high school evaluations.

Sanders mentions that a cost-free test would be conducted in some spring day within the school premises. Students still have options open to appear either SAT or ACT multiple times apart from this obligatory examination. “This does not restrict families or educational institutions from funding other students’ attempts at continuing with SAT or choosing multiple attempts of ACT,” he added.


Providing resources and Preparation Tips

He also confirmed that due to this change, resources including mock tests would be provided by ISBE to both students and their mentors which will aid in the preparation of students for the new assessment method.

“We do not stress upon teaching practices that are strictly targeted at cracking exams instead we promote genuine learning experience,” said Sanders, “If you have been learning sincerely through your schooling years, there should not exist any fear about giving these tests.”

In addition, he mentioned a key aspect where ACT seems different from SAT in terms of inclusion of a separate section related Science. This would mean an end to another standalone Science exam for the students


Compliance with Federal Requirements

Despite of the recent changes by universities where they have scrapped exams like SAT or ACT as a part of their admission process, Illinois has kept them intact to fulfill the prerequisites as per federal education clauses under Act for every thriving student. When students appear for state assessments next year, the test won’t be same as compared to previous years.

History of State Assessments

As per ISBE, Illinois will be conducting ACT exams instead of SAT starting from next spring. Texts that can judge the proficiency level of students and are commonly used for college admissions in subjects such as English language and mathematics.

Although these forms have stopped being compulsory for many institutions, they are still needed when a student applies for scholarship. Illinois uses them in accordance with Every Student Succeeds Act to meet federal laws. The performance of institutes on meeting basic academic standards is evaluated on the basis of these results which is visible on report card.

Previous Use of SAT

In 2017, SAT along with Essay was made standard assessment by Illinois for 11th grade students and later in 2019 PSAT 8/9 exam was designated to grade nine students and PSAT10 was allocated to high school novice. According to ISBE one advantage it had by including college entrance examination in its annual assessment schedule is aiding about all high school passing students with score which was funded by state enabling them further to use this score while apply at colleges or scholarships.


 Shift to Test-Optional Policies

In recent year we have observed many educational institutions discarding either SAT or ACT from their application procedure. During last year, Illinois passed Higher Education Fair Admissions Act mandating all state universities community colleges follow a “test optional” policy giving liberty to students whether they want to include these tests in their application. Irrespective of this ISBE persisted using these forms as mandated statewide tests.


Procurement Process

ACT came into picture due to standard purchase method by ISBE. The recent contract of ISBE with the College Board, running SAT, expired on June 30, calling for a new bidding process. Its monthly schedule of meeting ISBE sought bids from Test companies. It was in May when the deal of a six year, worth $53 million, was finalized with ACT.

As an advantage of conducting ACT, a science component is included unlike SAT which covered main subjects such as reading, writing and computing only. No separate Illinois Science Assessment will be required 11th grade students reducing time consumed in giving tests overall.


FAQ on ACT Transition

This also mean apart from mandatory statewide ACT evaluation students who wish to still appear for SAT or PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test will have to take efforts themselves. Schools have freedom whether choosing those forms during school day however state won’t pay for students’ tests.


Impact on Students

The shift from SAT to ACT as major assessment form indicates significant modifications for Illinois high student. With amenities provided by ISBE comprising section related Science, students could be benefiting from an all-inclusive assessment that would vibe well college readiness. Along with schools getting ready for transition, it primarily focuses upon genuine teaching and ensuring students are all set their educational future.


This concludes

The return to the ACT as the main evaluation test shows a notable change for Illinois high school students. Thanks to support ISBE and an added science part, students will gain from a broad test that matches with college and job readiness standards. While schools and districts get set for this, the priority stays on real teaching and making sure that students are fully ready for their upcoming academic lives.

Celina Brooks

Celina Brooks from Mussoorie is a Writer & Researcher. She earned her Engineering degree in IT from Rutgers University. She is a technology enthusiast but loves writing and talking about local news as well. She is a jolly person with 2 children.

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