November 24, 2014

Evers proposes statewide ACT requirement

All of Wisconsin’s public high school juniors could soon be required to take the ACT, under a proposal from the Department of Public Instruction.

The budget plan announced Wednesday by State Superintendent Tony Evers would have the college admissions test replace the current WKCE test Wisconsin uses to meet state and federal requirements. The WKCE is already being phased out in Wisconsin, and Evers says replacing it with the ACT will hold more meaning and provides more data to schools, parents, and students.

The state would also administer several other ACT tests to students in the 9th and 10th grade that can help measure career and college readiness. Evers says that information will help students identify possible career paths and what kinds of courses they should pursue to achieve those goals.

Wisconsin has long touted its high composite ACT test scores, which are typically among the best in the nation. Evers does not believe the requirement will hurt that reputation. That’s largely because Milwaukee, the state’s largest school district, already requires all juniors to take the test. While he says a drop of a point or two is possible, the benefits of making the ACT a statewide requirement would be worth any decrease.

The change would cost the state around $7 million more a year. It will require approval from the Legislature and the governor.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:05)