In Connecticut, Out with SBAC, In with SAT – Free to 11th Grade Public School Students

Standardized Test with Pencil

Standardized Test with Pencil

Governor Dannel P. Malloy and State Education Department Commissioner Dianna Wentzell said on Tuesday that starting on Wednesday, the State of Connecticut will begin using the SAT in lieu of an 11th grade Smarter Balanced – or SBAC – exam.

The SAT will be offered to all public school students for free.

The change was announced last summer, when the U.S. Department of Education approved a waiver request Governor Malloy submitted on behalf of the state in order to eliminate duplicative testing, reduce over-testing, mitigate student stress, and address parental concerns.

Beyond the benefits of reducing duplicative testing, the move has an added benefit of leveling the playing field by ensuring those who otherwise might not be able to afford the SAT – the costs for which typically run more than $50 – will not be precluded from taking the exam, which is often requisite for admission to higher education institutions.

“We’re committed to taking a smart approach on testing – it’s about finding a balance.  We know individualized teaching and instruction works, and we know that student-by-student data can help.  But that doesn’t mean we should be overburdening our kids.  That’s why we first devised this idea and submitted this waiver and why we’re so thrilled to be able to deliver this commonsense reform starting tomorrow,” Governor Malloy said.

“By switching to the SAT, we are reducing testing time in high schools and giving educators more time and space to do what they do best – teach our kids.”

“On behalf of the State Department of Education, I wish all of our students taking the SAT tomorrow best of luck and encourage you to good a good night sleep, eat breakfast and head to school confident that you will do your best,” Commissioner Wentzell said.  “The purpose of this test is to help us know more about what our students need so that our teachers can prepare them for success in college and careers.  This is our promise to our kids, and tomorrow’s administration of the SAT will help us deliver on that promise.”

The decision to switch to the SAT is part of broader, ongoing efforts to reduce the amount of standardized tests for public school students in Connecticut, but also to strengthen the assessments administered in schools so that results provide useful, actionable information.

Just last week, Governor Malloy and Commissioner Wentzell announced an adjustment to the Smarter Balanced test for students in grades three through eight that will reduce testing time within the English Language Arts portion of the test.   The move will reduce testing time, expand learning time, and mitigate anxiety for more than 200,000 Connecticut children in over 800 schools.

The State Department of Education has several resources available for districts and parents about the switch to the SAT for eleventh graders on its website, which can be found at http://www.ct.gov/sde/sat.


 

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