On Thursday, ISBE announced that ACT’s protest was denied, and it will begin negotiating a contract with the College Board, which administers the SAT exam.
Previously, the state contracted with ACT to provide the test to all high school juniors free of charge.
ISBE spokesperson Laine Evans said the College Board’s proposal is a three-year contract worth almost $14.3 million.
Testing dates are not yet final, Evans said.
“We understand the uncertainty with implementation, as we are working to keep districts updated through the process,” Evans wrote in an email.
Melissa Taylor, Belleville District 201’s director of special services, said the district doesn’t believe it will be giving the SAT this school year.
“We think it still depends on the state budget crises being resolved,” she said. “Even though (the College Board) is getting the contract, we don’t believe the funds are available.”
In Mascoutah, the district had planned for every one of the 268 juniors to take the ACT.
“We had a plan for the ACT,” said Cindy Presnell, assistant superintendent in Mascoutah. “We had something in place. Now that SAT is the test, we need more information.”
District 201 is telling its 1,000 juniors at Belleville East and Belleville West — those most likely to be taking college entrance exams — that either the SAT or the ACT will work.
Taylor said the district has surveyed the colleges and universities that Belleville students attend, and the colleges take both ACT and SAT results.
Presnell said colleges are leaning toward SAT results. She said the district had looked at days to offer the test but do not yet know what will be “grandfathered in.”
“We don’t want families or students to go through a process or payment of a test that may not count,” she said.
According to company websites, the ACT costs $39, or $56.50 with the writing portion. The SAT is $43, or $54.50 with the writing portion. Taylor said families may apply for a fee waiver through the schools’ guidance offices.
“We thought we might put that on hold until we get a better defined direction from ISBE,” she said.
Presnell said part of the test preparation is “just the skill base they get in high school.” She said in the past, Mascoutah has offered review classes so students would better understand the structure and design of the test.
Other area high schools, including East St. Louis and Edwardsville, did not return calls for comment.