Budget impasse could affect which college entrance exams students take

SPRINGFIELD — Whether Illinois high school students take the ACT, SAT, or no college entrance exam as part of state-mandated testing may depend on the state budget impasse.

The SAT has been picked by the state to be the exam included in mandatory testing for high school juniors, a role filled by the ACT for 15 years. While ACT is trying to get the contract cancelled, the lack of a state budget means there’s no money coming from the state for statewide college testing, so it may up to school districts to decide which test, if any, to administer next year.

“If people are making a decision and they’re going to go ahead and probably have to pay for it anyway if it’s not part of an appropriation, then they’re going to choose the one they’re most comfortable with, even though the contract went to SAT,” said Roger Eddy, executive director of the Illinois Association of School Boards.

Another option, according to Eddy, is districts may pass the costs of the tests to students, in which case he believes it will up to those individuals whether they take the SAT or ACT.

Eddy says even though the ACT has long been the standard for college entrance exams in the Midwest, he doesn’t see much difference between the two tests, noting they cover the same subjects to measure a student’s college readiness.