McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

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MCHS switches to the ACT for this next school year

Per ISBE’s instruction, the State of Illinois will no longer give the SAT to juniors starting next year
Lily Adams
The ACT will be a new and fresh college board test with more English and science then the old SAT.

In the 2024-2025 school year, MCHS will make a switch from the SAT to the ACT test.

For the past seven years, the SAT and PSAT have been required tests at MCHS, as the ACT has been optional. However, the state superintendent of Illinois has announced that a transition will take place to the ACT assessments starting in the summer for the next upcoming school year.

The Illinois State Board of Education on May 14, made an official announcement regarding the switch to the ACT. This switch will be taken in place in all of Illinois, and not just McHenry.

The decision to switch to the ACT was made based on three elements: a secure online testing experience for students, commitment to diversity, and price that ultimately made it easier on districts to administer.

“It does not impact us much,” says Carl Vallianatos, MCHS’s assistant superintendent for learning and innovation,. “There will be state testing in both the fall and spring just like normal and many of us are familiar with ACT. In another respect, … the test is a different test and the curricular emphasis is different.”

Gina Adams, math teacher at MCHS, agrees that it wouldn’t be super impactful to our school, however students may need time to get used to the curriculum.

“Whenever you administer any new standardized assessment,” Adams says. “Data could probably show a little dip in scores until students get used to the format, but I don’t think it’ll affect the overall outcome of the test.”

The ACT is obviously different from the SAT, however Adams believes despite the change, it may be easier for students to get used to as they have more of a chance to highlight their strengths due to the wider range of topics on the test.

“There’s four sections instead of two areas,” says Adams. “I think that might be a positive for our students because there’s a reading, english, math, and science portion. Even though I’m a math teacher, the fact that the math percentage is only 25% now instead of 50% is better for students.”

To practice for the ACT, Vallianatos explains that the district will be looking at the Pre-ACT tests each fall to gather data and prepare students for the spring testing. Other ways students can practice is through resources such as Albert or Khan Academy.

John McLaughlin, current junior at MCHS, doesn’t believe this will be easy for students, as some have been preparing for the SAT for months or even years, although he does believe that the decision is understandable.

Many soon to be seniors wonder what this means for them as they just took the SAT. However, Adams confirms that they will not have to take the ACT.

“They can opt to just see what that score would be,” says Adams. “But our current juniors, soon to be seniors, will not have to take an ACT. The incoming freshmen, sophomores and juniors will be affected the most.”

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