Michingan Department of Eduation's Reasoning
Citing that the College Board’s SAT will cost $15.4 million less than the ACT over a three year period, the Michigan Department of Education has decided to require Michigan public high school juniors to take the SAT instead, starting this fall for the 2015- 2016 school year. The state awarded the $17.1 million dollar contract to the SAT. The testing will begin in spring of 2016.
Some see the change as a positive because the newly redesigned SAT is aligned with the Common Core State Standards, already adopted in Michigan. Additionally, the College Board already works with the Michigan high schools on their Advanced Placement program. While there might be a little adjustment for everyone, state Superintendent Mike Flanagan assured educators and parents in a press release that the SAT test is, “respected and used around the country.”
Resistence from Schools
According to an article in the Lansing State Journal, this is not a welcome change within the school districts. In The pushback stems from the fact that the ACT was supposed to be a standard and schools spent money preparing students for that test. According to the executive director of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals, the ACT was, “one thing that was going to be a consistent accountability piece.” In the article Stephen Bigelow, principal of Cousino High School states, "I've invested a lot of money and training into getting students ready to take the ACT…That isn't going to do us much good anymore."
The Flint Journal noted in an article on June 3, 2009, that Superintendent Paul Barker purchased two 19-inch flat screen TVs with his own money to award to the two students who scored highest on the ACT. It is clear that the ACT has been a barometer for student success since 2007 when the state made the switch from the MEAP exam.
How Students Can Prepare
Students perhaps are the ones most effected by the change. Michigan students wishing to take the ACT in the spring will have to pay for the test themselves. The test costs $54.50 including the writing portion. The College Board’s Cyndie Schmeiser stated, “Michigan students will be offered free personalized (SAT) test practice and will benefit from scholarship opportunities.”
Get Familiar with the SAT
Michigan students should get familiar with the new SAT by taking the PSAT in October. The PSAT in October will be congruent with the newly redesigned SAT. This will give students a benchmark of what to expect come spring. The cost to take the test is $14, though for low-income students waivers are available. Some schools may cover the cost. Taking the PSAT is required if students want to be considered for a National Merit Scholarship.
Review Online Sample Questions
The more students review the types of questions that will be on the test, the better prepared they will be. Strong study skills will benefit every student. Students can begin the practice on the College Board’s website, where there are practice examples.