According to a recent report from the New York Times, SAT scores will now include those of every Connecticut 11th grader in the state’s public school programs. Starting with the 2015-2016 school year, high school juniors will be required to take the SAT exam, a replacement for the previous test in place, in response to a concern for too much testing in the 11th grade.
The change in testing requirement may sound strict, but it actually leaves 11th graders in Connecticut with one less test on their roster. This decreases the pressure put on the young teens at an important time in their academic careers, according to Governor Dannel P. Malloy.
“We thought it was just a tremendous amount of pressure concentrated in a single year,” he explained.
The state hopes that the push for younger students to take the SAT will increase interest in college applications. “They might surprise themselves into making plans for college they might not otherwise have made,” says Robert Pondiscio, vice president for external affairs at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. He added that it could be an important opportunity for students in low-income families.
The 11th graders’ SAT scores alone will not impact their ability to move on to their senior year. Their eligibility to move up is dependent on the combined factors of test scores, attendance, and other surrounding circumstances. The average national SAT scores for public school students, usually representative of high school seniors, are 497 in reading, 489 in writing, and 514 in math. Private school students scored 541, 550, and 579, respectively.
Some parents object to the change, and are petitioning to have their children opt out of state testing altogether. The grades that students received on these kinds of standardized tests are linked directly to the students’ teachers, causing unions to stand alongside these parents in protest.