CHICAGO — Illinois is preparing to expand free college admissions-related testing for high school students by giving such exams to all ninth-, 10th- and 11th-graders in the state, state Board of Education records show.
The move could cost taxpayers up to $75 million through 2024.
Ninth and 10th graders could be taking preliminary tests that lead up to a college entrance exam beginning in the spring of 2019, the Chicago Tribune reported. The tests are meant to help prepare students for college and careers. Eleventh graders would continue to take a free college entrance exam and their scores could be used for college admissions, the state records show.
"I would consider it a huge step forward. This is the premise of what we have been asking for," said Lynn Panega, the superintendent of the Lake Park High School District 108 in DuPage County.
The three-year testing idea is designed to measure student academic progress through high school.
"This comprehensive approach also enables students to glide into their 11th-grade, high-stakes SAT year, with experience and confidence," said David Larson, the superintendent of the sprawling Glenbard Township High School District 87.
The idea comes as ACT Inc. and the College Board's SAT prepare to compete for a three-year initial contract with potential renewals through 2024. Both companies submitted proposals for ninth-, 10th- and 11th-grade testing last week.
It's unclear if College Board's SAT or the ACT will be doing the testing now that Illinois is pursuing a new contract.