State School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said Oklahoma public school districts will have the opportunity this year to choose whether their 11th-grade students can take the ACT or the SAT college-entrance exam free of charge.
This initiative is an extension of a 2015-2016 pilot program widely embraced across the state last spring, when all but two of Oklahoma’s 459 public high schools provided the ACT for juniors. As a result, 79 percent of 11th graders – or 35,477 of 45,071 students – took the test, compared to a little more than half who had taken the exam the year before.
Giving schools the opportunity to administer the free tests onsite and during the school day eliminates cost and transportation barriers for students.
An ACT or SAT score allows a student to earn college credit at a reduced cost while still in high school through concurrent enrollment and is a requirement for acceptance into colleges and universities.
Hofmeister said the assessment program shares the same goals as Launch Oklahoma, Gov. Mary Fallin’s initiative to increase the number of Oklahomans with postsecondary degrees, certificates or credentials from 40 percent to 70 percent by the year 2025.
The ACT/SAT program is free for schools and students and is funded through dollars already allocated for assessments through the OSDE, which estimates it will save $2.4 million annually by administering the ACT or SAT instead of the EOIs.
Oklahoma students have traditionally chosen to take the ACT to fulfill the entrance requirements of colleges and universities. The number of Oklahoma high school graduates in 2016 who took the ACT was 32,854, or 82 percent.
The number of Oklahoma high school graduates in 2016 who took the SAT was 1,503, or less than 4 percent.