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Idaho education board mulls axing high school college entrance exam requirement

Ever since this graduation requirement went into place, Critchfield said the state has not seen a significant change in the rate of students going on to college
Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 10:57 AM MST
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Currently in Idaho, one of the requirements to graduate high school is to complete a college entrance exam, however, recent discussions by the Idaho State Board of Education could be discontinuing that precedent.

The Idaho State Board of Education President Debbie Critchfield told KMVT the reason high school students are required to take a college entrance exam comes from a decision made about 10 plus years ago.

“The legislature and the board of education at that time said if that if it is a barrier to going on, then let’s remove that barrier,” Critchfield said.

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The state now pays for students to take the SAT. Ever since this graduation requirement went into place, Critchfield said the state has not seen a significant change in the rate of students going on to college.

“We know that and have listened and tracked students over the years,” Critchfield said. “Not every student chooses to go to a college or university setting, which is completely acceptable.”

Critchfield further explained that Idaho’s nationwide college entrance exam scores are typically lower than national scores.

“The reason for that is because we test every student,” Critchfield said. “So we know that we have students that have made other choices and are not planning to go into a college setting and we are still requiring them to take the test.”

The College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls does not require college entrance exams for students to be accepted, but if a student does provide them, then it can help determine what coursework students should be placed in.

“I do think that students that do test well can use that as a piece for helping them measure their success in future college endeavors,” said CSI Dean of Student Access Jon Lord. “It is defiantly not the only way to do it.”

As discussions will continue to be had on this topic, both the State Board of Education and CSI said they would like to see the state still pay for the assessments for the students who do want to take them.

“Move away from the requirement, and that way those students who do want to access it they can, and there is no problem,” Critchfield said. “Students who are perhaps going into the military or a tech program would then have access to other assessments that would help them in whatever career they chose.”

Discussions are also be had on when Idaho public High school students take the Idaho Standards Achievement Test.

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