CPS Switch to SAT Ushers in New Era of Standardized Testing

Jones students will be taking the SAT instead of the ACT come this year.

Following a state mandated switch earlier this year, Jones students will be administered the SAT instead of the ACT. The contract that the ACT had with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) expired in early 2016. Following the expiration of the contract, both the ACT and SAT presented to the ISBE on why students should take their tests. Impressed with the presentation given by the SAT’s parent company, The College Board, CPS offered the SAT a contract. The changes that the SAT made improved their chances.

“The goal of the new SAT is to be more user- friendly,” student services director Meredith Kramer said. The College Board implemented a new system that allows students to utilize their standardized tests from when they’re freshman until they’re juniors. The PSAT is free for all years, as well as the SAT the first time around.

“In October, juniors are taking PSAT. In April they’re taking the SAT,” Kramer said. “And freshmen and sophomores will take the PSAT in the spring.”

The switch in tests shouldn’t affect college applications. Different colleges accept the scores of different tests. “And it’s not to say you can’t take the ACT, but you’ll have to pay for it and take it on a national test day,” Kramer said.

There are few differences between the two tests. According to the Princeton Review, the SAT includes one less test section, allots more time, and allows selective use of the calculator compared to the ACT. The ACT and SAT are similar in that they are distributed to students around the same time of year. Some students feel that the switch short- sighted them and will jeopardize their achievement.

Imani McKinney ‘18 thinks that the switch was unexpected and that she isn’t properly prepared. She feels that many of her peers have been preparing to take the ACT and that time will have been wasted. “The college of my choice requires you to submit both,” McKinney said. “But for someone who has always been preparing for the ACT, this switch is awkward.”

Students feel that they will have little time to prepare for the SAT. The ACT was used in the Illinois education system for the past 15 years, and students felt that things would continue as they were. But that’s not the case.

Some students are frustrated with the decision made by the ISBE. “And now they want to up and switch, it’s going to throw everybody  off,”McKinney said.

The frustration from students is due to their wasted time, effort, and money spent on preparing for the ACT. Kennedy Christian ‘18 has been preparing for the ACT since last year by going to classes and studying on her own. When asked if she thought that she would do well on the SAT, she responded with, “I can only hope.”