Some Illinois School Districts Offer Free ACT Exams | WBEZ
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Some Illinois School Districts Offer Free ACT Exams

Thousands of high school juniors in public schools across Illinois will also get to take the ACT college entrance exam courtesy of their districts in addition to the free SAT.

According to ACT Inc., New Trier Township High School, Lyons Township High School District 204, Adlai Stevenson and Warren Township are among about 30 public school districts and private schools giving the ACT to their students.

ACT Inc.'s contract ended with Illinois public high schools after 15 years, the Chicago Tribune reported. The College Board's SAT won a multimillion-dollar contract from Illinois to give its exam to more than 140,000 juniors starting this spring.

But educators said the history and connection to the ACT didn't go away as students in many district had taken precursor tests in earlier grades to pave the way for the ACT as juniors.

"So we've started them on the path to the ACT, but the state decided to go with the SAT in the middle of all this and we didn't feel it would be fair for our students to not have a test they were familiar with," said Scott Eggerding, director of curriculum and instruction at Lyons 204.

Stevenson spokesman Jim Conrey said the district also wanted to honor its commitment to students who had received ACT-focused training.

"We will not be providing the ACT after this year because next year's juniors will have had one year of SAT preparation under their belts," Conrey said.

Not all districts can afford the nearly $60 per student price tag, exacerbating the already large gaps in revenues and spending in various districts.

According to ACT, other districts providing the ACT for free at school include Joliet Township District 204, Riverside Brookfield High School District 208, the Illinois State University Laboratory Schools as well as several other downstate districts, and Catholic and other private schools.

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