Getting your Evanston news from Facebook? Try the Evanston RoundTable’s free daily and weekend email newsletters – sign up now!

On July 12, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced that it will provide the College Board’s SAT exam, including a writing component, at no cost to all public high school juniors during the 2016-17 school year. The SAT will replace the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment as the high school accountability exam in Illinois.

“District and school administrators overwhelmingly agree with ISBE that every high school junior should have access to a college entrance exam, a policy that promotes equity and access and that provides each and every student with greater opportunities in higher education,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “The SAT is aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards and will continue to empower educators to measure college and career readiness.”

“Students in grades 3-8 will continue to take the PARCC assessment. The PARCC assessment is also aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards, and its results provide educators with data that may be used to provide individualized supports to students while preparing them for mastery of the state standards,” said ISBE in a prepared statement.

ISBE said it “conducted listening tours to obtain insight from stakeholders, including students, parents, schools, districts, educators, administrators, exclusive bargaining representatives, advocacy groups, and other interested parties. Stakeholders overwhelmingly emphasized the need for equitable access to a college entrance exam for all students. They also stressed that the amount of testing time and the number of assessments administered to students need to be reduced.”

“We applaud State Superintendent Dr. Tony Smith and the State Board for listening to input from stakeholders around the state and coming up with this common-sense solution,” said Dr. Brent Clark, executive director of the Illinois Association of School Administrators.

“Most college-bound students must take an entrance exam for admission,” said ISBE. “The SAT will eliminate redundancy and maximize the value of their testing time. By administering the SAT in high school and PARCC in grades 3-8, ISBE continues to foster the conditions whereby educators can support students in becoming college and career ready.”