SAT Day arrives for Idaho juniors

On Tuesday more than 15,000 high school juniors across Idaho will take the SAT college entrance exam at the state’s expense.

SATThis is the fifth year of the free statewide SAT School Day.

As a graduation requirement, high school students must take a college entrance exam, whether it is the SAT, ACT or Compass. Although students can take whatever test they like, the Legislature provides more than $1 million for all juniors to take the SAT.

The state has paid for all juniors to take the SAT since 2012, but that may change someday. Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra told the 2016 Legislature that there appears to be more interest among educators in the ACT than the SAT. Lawmakers did not pursue any changes this year and the SAT continues to be the test of choice.

“We are still in the discussion phase regarding college entrance or placement exams,” State Department of Education spokesman Jeff Church wrote in an email to Idaho Ed News. “That being said, on the horizon, the superintendent has mentioned that she would like to explore the elimination of the SBAC at the high school level, and again explore, what offering the ACT at the high school level would look like because of the WorkKeys component.”

Last year, 16,792 Idaho juniors from 196 schools took part in the April SAT Day, up from 16,579 students the year before.

Students who took the test on SAT Day last year earned a mean cumulative score of 1353, down 10 points from the previous year. Last year 2400 was a perfect score. Under the revised SAT, 1600 has become the highest possible score, State Department of Education officials said.

Because funding comes through the public school budget, home-school and private school students are not eligible to take the SAT at state expense. However, students enrolled in at least one class at a public school, public charter or public online school are eligible to take part.

Test results are expected in August.