Proposed Change in ACT Exam

Groundbreaking changes could be coming to the ACT exam in Illinois, costing parents.

State superintendent Christopher Koch is proposing the test, which high school juniors often take to enter college, should no longer be funded by state taxes.

Instead, he says the ACT would be voluntary and only free for low-income families.

The Illinois State Board of Education is recommending that $14 million be put into its budget to keep the exam free for everyone that takes it, even if it becomes voluntary.

“If the state has the capacity to fund this and to support this, I think it’s something we’ve always appreciated,” said Patrick Nolten, Executive Director of Assessment, Research and Evaluation for School District 204.

Naperville resident Curt Bradshaw sits on the board and says he thinks the ACT should be kept mandatory.

“Not having the ACT would be a situation where it would be penny wise but pound foolish,” said Bradshaw. “The ACT is the exam that unlocks opportunities for students. It’s something that gets them into college. It’s something they highlight on their resume and something employees ask for.”

Illinois has paid more than $100 million to have the ACT administered in recent years and 160,000 students took the exam in 2013, more than any other state.

No decision has been made yet on the exam’s future.

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