Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Great Illinois Testing Standoff 2015 (ACT vs SAT)

Photo Credit: http://fox61.com/2015/10/25/obama-administration-announces-new-testing-guidelines/
If you're anything like me you are dreading going back to school after winter break for (at least) one reason: testing. Will we have one? What will it be? When will it be? When will we know?

Yeah, all questions I have too.

At the beginning of December I found out that the SAT had scored pretty high vs the ACT in the State bid for a statewide testing solution. I chose to keep quiet about it for 2 reasons:

1. I didn't want to create wide-spread panic.
2. I had to put a plan in place to protect the best interest of my students.

While things are looking pretty good for SAT, nothing is carved in stone just yet. To be on the safe side, as a school counselor, I would not proclaim to know too much about what state-wide testing will look like this year; I would divert all questions to ISBE.

To protect the best interest of your students I would plan to meet with all juniors upon your return and have them register for a National ACT as soon as possible. 

Before I left for break I met with each of my juniors to discuss post-secondary planning, senior year plans and had each of them pledge to take the National ACT. I collected data on all of their pledges (dates they plan to test) and registered the FRL students with waivers. I also prepared the demographics section of the accommodations paperwork for all of my SPED students and handed it off to their Case Managers to be completed by the deadline.

We will not be able to determine our fate when it comes to State testing, but we can do what is within our power to protect the best interest of our students. They are familiar with the ACT format, they have been raised on the assumption that they would be assessed by an ACT score, we at least owe them the opportunity to give it a shot.

To further prepare I've made copies of a comparison chart so I am ready when parents begin calling once the final decision is made.

Here is a comparison chart from SAT.

Here is a comparison chart from ACT.

How are you preparing? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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