Revamped SAT sweeps into high schools statewide


Clara Lutz and Naissa Charles, juniors, express confusion over the new SAT format.

For 43 years, Evanston has cultivated a relationship with the ACT, but the Illinois State Board of Education’s decision to switch to the SAT will soon change that.

“This alters everything,” said Dr. Marcus A. Campbell, principal. “Now that this is the official state exam, everything from semester exams to courses and disciplines must be reformed.”

Campbell explained that the administration has made it a priority to prepare students for the kind of testing language seen on the ACT. “We want students to be familiar with the types of question so that they can succeed,” he said.

“The material- based and interpretation questions on the ACT are more common in ETHS classes,” said Olivia Everhart, senior. “It’s more of a big picture test.”

With a science section and advanced math concepts, the ACT questions cover more subjects and are generally more straightforward. SAT questions are more evidence and context-based in an effort to focus on real-world situations and multistep problem-solving, according to CollegeBoard. The good news is, the redesigned SAT looks a lot more like the ACT.

With no role in the decision, ETHS administration had no idea that the state’s proposal would quickly turn into law, forcing them to administer the SAT next school year.

“We would have never advocated for a change,” Campbell said. “We’ve had historical data with the ACT for decades.” Therefore, getting students, teachers, and parents acclimated to the switch might be difficult.

“We have to prepare for a major shift,” Campbell said. “The state has no idea how these mandates really impact schools financially and operationally,” Campbell said.

Test prep at ETHS corresponds to the ACT and many teachers are trained to prep students for this exam. However, the state’s new decision poses the question of whether or not to provide test prep for both standardized tests and how to train staff for the SAT.

“It’s all very complicated, but we’ll try to figure it out so that it’s student centered and implemented well,” Campbell said.