All Illinois And Colorado Students Forced To Take ACT

University Testing

Beginning in spring 2001, every high school junior in two states will be required to take the ACT, whether or not they plan to attend college.


In Illinois, the ACT will be incorporated into a new 11th grade Prairie State Achievement Exam, as will two parts of ACT's Work Keys exams, which allegedly measure employment skills. The battery will take at least seven hours over two days to administer. Students will not be charged for taking the mandatory tests.


Moderately high stakes will be attached to the Illinois exam package: there will be a passing score, and results will appear on transcripts. In addition, the state says it is encouraging auto insurance companies to offer lower rates to students with high test scores. Almost three-quarters of Illinois high school graduates now take the ACT.


In Colorado, the ACT will be the only state-required test for high school juniors. A graduation exam is already administered beginning in 10th grade. State officials claim that mandatory ACT testing will encourage more students to consider applying to college; slightly more than one-third of the state's high school students now graduate without taking the test.


Colorado taxpayers will cover the $1 million cost of the tests. But prospective student-athletes will have to take the ACT again since the National Collegiate Athletic Association has announced that scores from the state-funded administration will not qualify for its controversial initial eligibility requirement.