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Which States Require the SAT?

By January 2, 2020No Comments

Map of United States

What States Require the SAT?

A number of states across the U.S. have contracted with the College Board to offer the SAT as a School Day Test. Some of these states require that high school juniors take the SAT, while others allow students to take either the SAT or the ACT, and some do not require students to take either test. Does your state require the SAT, and what does that mean if so?

The States that Require the SAT

The following states require high school juniors to take the SAT and offer the test as part of statewide assessments:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia

Why do these states require the SAT?

Each state has a Board of Education that is responsible for monitoring student scholastic achievement. A variety of standardized tests have been used in the past to measure student aptitude. Some states have decided to use the SAT as their state-administered test in order to gather the data they need to track educational standards while also eliminating “extra” standardized testing for their students and encouraging them to apply to college.

What does that mean for students in these states? It means they get to take the SAT for free, usually in April, on a school day. Many schools will print the SAT scores on student transcripts. Some states that require the SAT will still allow parents to refuse the state-required testing by completing opt-out paperwork. When in doubt, always check with your high school counselor to determine your individual school’s policy.

States that Offer the SAT as a School Day Test but Do Not Require It

Some states offer a free administration of the SAT to high school juniors but do not require students to take it.

  • The District of Columbia does not require students to take the SAT but offers the test for free to all juniors and seniors.
  • Idaho offers the SAT through the School Day Test. Juniors are required to take either the SAT or ACT.
  • Maine: Taking the SAT is optional for Maine juniors, but the state still offers it to its students for free.
  • Tennessee: Students are required to take either the SAT or the ACT.
  • Ohio: Students are required to take either the SAT or the ACT. Individual school districts within Ohio can select which test they will give.
  • Oklahoma: Students are required to take either the SAT or the ACT, but it varies from school district to school district within the state.
  • South Carolina: Students are required to take either the SAT or the ACT, but it varies from school district to school district within the state.

Should You Take a School Day SAT?

For many students, the School Day SAT is a great benefit. They can take an SAT for free, and they can also plan to take two SAT tests fairly close in time (for example, they can take both the March national test and then the School Day Test in April, or they can take the School Day Test in April and then the May national test). For many students, planning to take the test at least twice maximizes their test prep pay-off and increases their chances of achieving their goal score.

However, not all students should take the SAT just because their school offers it. Students who attend schools that offer the SAT but know that the ACT is the better fit for them may want to consider opting out of their school’s SAT administration. If you have been studying intensely to prepare for the ACT, you may not want to “dilute” the impact of your studying by also trying to get ready for the SAT. Additionally, accelerated and high-scoring students who studied for and aced their standardized tests in the fall of their junior year may not have any reason to re-test in April if it can easily be avoided.

What’s the Best Testing Plan for My Student?

Decisions about which test(s) to take and when to take them are highly individualized depending on the student. For help determining the best course of action for your student, call Mindfish at 720-204-1041, and we would be happy to offer recommendations tailored to your student’s situation and goals.