A Colorado Department of Education proposal to change college entrance exams across the state is on the radar at Mancos schools.
State education officials had to backtrack last week after announcing that Colorado high school juniors would be required to take the SAT instead of the ACT. Both test are used as college entrance exams.
Mancos Re-6 Superintendent Brian Hanson told board members this week that the rationale for the change remained unknown.
“It was a secret committee,” Hanson said that recommended the switch.
Because of public pushback, state officials have announced that the ACT college entrance exam would continue to be administered to high school juniors for free in 2016. Across the state, parents and school officials complained about the department’s decision last month to start requiring students to take the SAT after many students had already begun prepping for the ACT.
During a workshop discussion held about updating the district’s graduation guidelines, the testing change became the focus of attention for Mancos school board members on Monday, Jan. 18.
In general, the ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test, measuring what a student has learned in school. The SAT, on the other hand, is more of an aptitude test, measuring reasoning and verbal abilities.
Mancos educators have noted that all colleges across Colorado currently require the ACT. The SAT is utilized to award National Merit Scholarships.
Citing the SAT is better aligned with state academic standards and test preparation for students, state officials have indicated that juniors would transition to the SAT starting in 2017.
In regard to revised graduation requirements, the most contentious area for Mancos educational leaders was whether high school students should be required to complete community service hours. Some board members argued that students were already taxed for time during the school year, while others said it could help catapult students towards prestigious scholarship opportunities.
“We will need to get community feedback,” Hanson advised the board before authorizing a service component to graduation.
Mancos High School Principal Adam Priestly is leading a committee to review graduation requirements. A final proposal will be presented to the board by March.
“Higher education requirements will drive our guidelines,” Priestly said.