Michigan’s switch to the SAT is actually a good thing


Sam Medved

In 2016 Michigan schools will be ditching the ACT and recently developed “New MEAP” standardized tests in favor of the SAT. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) justified the change by stating that it would save the state “millions of dollars over the course of the three-year contract” and provide students with a test that is better aligned to Michigan’s curriculum. While it would be nice if the MDE could make up their mind, the switch away from the ACT has numerous benefits.

Although the ACT has been considered an adequate college readiness examination in the state of Michigan, very few schools outside of the state accept the scores. The SAT, however, is accepted by schools globally. Adopting the SAT as Michigan’s college readiness test of choice means that students who wish to apply to out-of-state schools will no longer have to pay to take the SAT simply to be eligible to apply.

Many are concerned that Michigan colleges will still require students to submit an ACT score in order to apply. This is quite frankly ridiculous. The majority of students who live out of state take the SAT already, and they are still capable of applying to Michigan schools without having to take an additional test. In fact, schools such as the University of Michigan, Michigan State and Oakland University state in their application information that students can apply with either ACT or SAT test results. Unless a student is looking to apply to some weird private college, the school is extremely likely to accept an SAT score.

Adopting the SAT to take the place of both a college readiness and state standards test decreases the amount of standardized tests that high school juniors will have to complete. Currently juniors are required to take the 10 hour “New MEAP”, the 4 hour ACT and the 3 hour ACT Workkeys test. The SAT is only about 3 hours and 45 minutes long. By requiring students to only take the SAT and Workkeys test, the MDE is actually decreasing time spent on standardized testing by approximately 13 hours. Not only will eliminating 13 hours of testing diminish a large portion of the pressure on students, but it also means that time can be spent on in-class instruction.

Some may argue that the change is unfair because students have put so much work into preparing for the ACT; however, the SAT focuses on fairly similar subjects. Both tests include examinations on reading, writing, and math. Really any student who has been studying for the ACT really should be fine taking the SAT because the two tests are fundamentally the same. Plus, college readiness tests were originally designed to be something that students don’t need to study for. They’re meant to test how effective someone’s 11 years of education have been. If a student has been paying even the slightest bit of attention in their classes throughout the years, they shouldn’t have to study to be successful unless they have testing anxiety or something similar.

Of course it’s annoying that the MDE keeps changing their mind about standardized testing. It’d be so much easier if everything stayed the same, but the standards of education are changing. As a result, the type of testing must change as well. By switching the the SAT, Michigan students will no longer have to pay to take an additional test to apply to colleges outside of Michigan and they will also receive an additional 13 hours of instruction with a teacher. While excessive change is annoying, it’s good that the MDE is realizing that the current system just isn’t working as well as it could be.

Some Michigan Schools that accept the SAT:

MSU Admission Criteria: http://admissions.msu.edu/admission/freshmen_profile.asp

U of M Admission Criteria: ttp://admissions.umich.edu/apply/freshmen-applicants/requirements-deadlines

OU Admission Criteria: https://www.oakland.edu//Default.aspx?id=20485&sid=444&CWFriendlyUrl=true

CMU Admission Criteria: https://www.cmich.edu/admissions/undergrad/incoming/Pages/admissions_criteria.aspx

GVSU Admission Criteria: https://www.gvsu.edu/admissions/undergraduate/admissions-requirements-9.htm

EMU: http://www.emich.edu/admissions/requirements/first_year.php

WMU: http://wmich.edu/admissions/freshmen/criteria/