Illinois switches college entrance exam


Nicole Barlik, Views Editor

For fifteen years, students in their junior year of high school were required on taking the ACT to get into college. The ACT test is a multiple part exam consisting of the subjects, English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. Although, there are other entry exams such as the SAT, they were less likely to be looked at, until now.

When the contract ended between Illinois and the College Board, a proposal was made that Illinois should switch from the ACT to SAT. Obviously, that proposal was granted and now junior high school students are required to take the SAT as a college entrance exam.

There are many reasons as to why Illinois chose the SAT over the ACT; for example, the cost. ACT’s cost an abundance amount of money. Illinois signed a three-year contract with College Board that stated ACT’s are worth $14.3 million dollars. It has been fifteen years and the total cost of the ACT’s in fifteen years was $71.5 million dollars. However, with the SAT’s, the three- year contract states that the cost will be $1.37 million dollars less than the ACT contract. This means that the SAT will cost $12.93 million dollars every three years and a total cost of $64.65 million dollars in fifteen years. Another reason for Illinois switching is that students will have a better outcome by taking the SAT, rather then the ACT. Judging, on the outcome of the ACT’s versus the SAT’s, the score outcome is higher and more likely to be better when students take the SAT’s.

But is it worth changing the test after such a long period of time? Schools have improved and gotten better at helping out students learn and practice the ACT’s for so long. On SIP days, Joliet West requires most classes to give practice ACT exams to students. Is it fair to students to have them changed the way they learned?

Another, bad effect of changing the exams is that only Illinois has decided to switch from ACT’s to SAT’s. No other state has decided to do this, so if junior high school students decide to pursue their education outside Illinois, it is the student’s responsibility and job to figure out a way to take the ACT exam.

Finally, switching from ACT’s to SAT’s so quickly can create a student to struggle who has educated themselves for the ACT and now has to learn the SAT system. The two exams are different in many ways. For example, ACT questions tend to be more straightforward, while SAT questions have students take time and understand what the test is asking for. Similarly, the SAT does not include a science section, however, the ACT does include it. Also, ACT and SAT are scored differently; ACT are scores from 1-36 and SAT scores are from 400-1600. Telling from this it will be a struggle for students to adapt to SAT’s so quickly.

Illinois is trying to do its best by having students learn better and expand their education in life, but are their intentions in the right place?