Editorial: The ABCs and 123s of SATs and ACTs
If we care about educating our kids, let’s put the money into teaching them.
Let’s not send millions of dollars to companies who can really just tell us whether our kids can take tests.
According to Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, Pennsylvanians pay almost $18 million for testing high school seniors each year.
The Keystone Exams are required to graduate. But many high school seniors are already taking tests that have a real purpose beyond checking a box on a list.
The SAT and ACT are used by colleges to do exactly what Pennsylvania is trying to do with the Keystones — to see just how well a student has absorbed 13 years of education.
The SAT has been administered by the nonprofit College Board (later the Educational Testing Service) since 1926. The ACT has been given by nonprofit American College Testing since 1959. About 4 million students take the tests annually.
In 2018, Pennsylvania graduated 125,746 students. Of those, 87,507 were college-bound, according to the Department of Education.
That means on top of the Keystone Exam, they still had to take either the SAT or ACT, and the $47.50 or $64.50 respectively was paid for by the family.
DePasquale is right. While maybe there is a reason to drive full-speed at testing each year in other grades, for seniors where there is already a built-in mechanism in place, why is Pennsylvania reinventing the wheel and paying more for it?
If the state just covered the cost of SAT or ACT testing, it not only wouldn’t have to worry about the cost of administering or processing the tests, it would also recover the days spent on the tests for actual teaching.
True, there are still those 38,000 or so kids who graduate and don’t go to college. But if they took the SAT or ACT before graduation, they would leave with those scores in their back pocket, in case they do decide to pursue a degree down the line.
It could save taxpayers money. It could save families money. It could let kids leave high school with more options at their disposal.
It’s a good lesson for all of us.