Here’s your college test question of the day: Take a $43 college readiness test, multiply it by 143,000 Illinois high school juniors, apply a bulk discount and what do you get?
Well, if you are an Illinois taxpayer you get a bad deal.
Illinois will spend $33 per high school junior to give them the $43 SAT college readiness test. The three-year contract is worth a total of $14.3 million and ends a 15-year relationship with the ACT to provide the same service.
The Illinois State Board of Education thinks it is wise to test every high school junior to see if they are ready for college. Never mind that all those high school kids were already being tested with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test.
Plus what is the point of giving all 143,000 Illinois juniors a college entrance test? Not all are going to college: Some will opt for trades, the military or the workforce.
PARCC is designed to give feedback to make curriculum or instructional adjustments, plus is designed for college AND careers. Giving everyone a “free” (taxpayer funded) SAT exam is maybe a nice idea, but not here and especially not now.
Illinois can ill afford this taxpayer gift to high school juniors as we stare down a $12 billion deficit in another 135 days. Plus the state board did a lousy job of negotiating the price if we only got a $10 break in the per-test cost over what parents would pay out of pocket.
The right answer is to dump this additional test.