Communication to the Cherry Creek School District community
High school juniors in the Cherry Creek School District will be able to take the ACT exam in the spring as their official college entrance assessment, the Colorado Department of Education announced this week.
Officials from the CDE announced Monday that high school students across the state will have a transition year before Colorado's official transition to the SAT as the standard college assessment exam. The announcement came after widespread protest following an earlier decision to make the switch with only months of warning.
The decision will not change a five-year contract awarded to the College Board, the SAT's vendor, to administer the PSAT and SAT to Colorado's 10th- and 11th-grade students. What's more, this year's class of 10th-graders will take the PSAT in preparation for Colorado's full transition to the SAT in the spring of 2017.
The CDE's announced change to the SAT earlier this month was an outcome of a resolution passed in May by the state Legislature, which required the CDE to go through a formal and competitive procurement process for both a college entrance exam and a new 10th-grade exam. The CDE issued a request for proposals in November and received bids from both the College Board and the ACT. Less than three months later, the selection committee opted for the SAT as the college entrance exam and the PSAT as the assessment for 10th graders.
According to the CDE, district assessment coordinators have been notified that, pending contract negotiations, the ACT will be administered to 11th-grade students on April 19. Districts will have the choice of administering the PSAT on April 19 or 20.
The change from ACT to SAT first announced in early January of 2016 drew widespread protests from districts across the state, including objections from Cherry Creek School District administrators. CCSD Superintendent Dr. Harry Bull expressed concerns about the sudden shift and the impact on current juniors in the district.
"This isn't a matter of one test being better than another. Rather, our legitimate concerns have to do with student success and preparation," Bull wrote in a letter sent to the Cherry Creek School District community. "We've worked hard over many years to create an assessment that aligns with the larger academic system in Cherry Creek and the rest of the state. The ACT has become a benchmark at both levels, and such an unexpected change is set to be disruptive."
Such feedback at the district level came along with a formal letter of objection from dozens of Colorado superintendents as well as an attempted protest filed against the CDE by the Colorado Association of School Executives.