Illinois switches from ACT, will give students SAT instead

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CHICAGO (AP) — The state of Illinois will stop giving the ACT college entrance exam and instead has contracted to give high school juniors the rival SAT, according to state records.

The company that offers the ACT has filed a protest with the state seeking to cancel Illinois' new contract with the College Board, which offers the SAT, the Chicago Tribune reported ( ). The three-year contract is worth $14.3 million, state records show. Illinois has given the ACT for free to 11th graders for 15 years.

A new law took effect in Illinois this past summer requiring a college entrance exam be included in the state testing cycle. The state's ACT contract ended by that time and the state launched a competitive process for a new contract, which state records show the SAT won with a proposal that was $1.37 million less than the ACT over three years.

The College Board said in a statement that more Illinois students would benefit from taking the SAT. In response to the SAT contract, the ACT filed a protest on Dec. 15 with state procurement officials. Those officials say several outcomes of the protest are possible, including the state restarting the competitive process.

ACT spokesman Ed Colby said the company is "analyzing the submitted proposals and working within the process dictated by procurement requirements."

Meanwhile a state budget impasse in Illinois means there is no budget for statewide college testing. That led to dozens of districts earlier this school year signing up for ACT testing, some at their own cost. The College Board also has been working with some Illinois school districts that would like to give the SAT this spring. That means schools across Illinois could be offering the SAT, the ACT or both.

The graduating class of 2015 in Illinois had 157,047 students from public and private high school take the ACT. That's compared with fewer than 6,000 students who graduated high school in 2015 in Illinois who took the SAT.

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