Unlike most juniors in Idaho, Sugar-Salem High students did not participate in the state’s 2017 SAT day. Almost all of the school’s 125 juniors opted instead to take the ACT for their college entrance exam.
Idaho law requires all students to take a college-entrance exam before they can graduation from high school. About 90 percent of Idaho’s teens take the SAT because the state pays for it at a cost of $1 million a year. (This year, 19,323 of Idaho’s 21,543 11th graders took the SAT.)
Most Sugar-Salem juniors took the ACT, for the second straight year, because nearby BYU-Idaho prefers it, according to administrators — though the private university accepts either test. State Department of Education numbers suggest that Sugar-Salem was the only Idaho High School that didn’t participate in SAT day on April 2017.
Sugar-Salem students didn’t have to pay to take the ACT; the district used funds from a federal GEAR UP grant.
About 38 percent of Idaho’s high school class of 2017 took the ACT, compared to 60 percent of students nationally.