Idaho prepares for its second SAT day

A year ago, nearly 17,000 high school juniors took part in Idaho’s inaugural SAT School Day — taking the college entrance exam at state expense.

Idaho’s Class of 2014 will get its turn April 17.

Registration is now open for Idaho’s second SAT School Day; the deadline is April 3.

The free SAT day boosted student participation in the test: in 2011, only 2,829 Idaho students took the SAT.

However, only 25 percent of the students who took the test in 2012 met college or career benchmarks established by the College Board, the New York-based nonprofit that administers the SAT.

Tom Luna
State superintendent Tom Luna

Those results were not a surprise, and were in line with first-year results in states that required students to take the SAT, said Melissa McGrath, a spokeswoman for state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. But scores should improve in a few years, as enhanced high school standards kick in, and as more high school sophomores take the Preliminary SAT, or PSAT, to prepare for SATs.

“We think that it will take time,” McGrath said.

A college entrance exam is a graduation requirement in Idaho, but juniors are not required to take part in SAT day. Students can meet their graduation requirement by taking another college entrance exam, such as the ACT — if they, or their parents, are willing to pay.

About 85 percent of juniors participated in the 2012 SAT day, McGrath said.

Idaho has budgeted $963,500 for this year’s SAT day. Luna is seeking $1,703,500 for student achievement tests in his 2013-14 budget proposal. Much of the increase would go towards offering the PSAT to sophomores, on a voluntary basis.

How to register:

• Go to www.sat.org/idaho. Students need an email account; a College Board online account, which is free; their EDUID (state student ID) number; and an Idaho SAT student voucher, available from their school counselor.

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