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College Board's SAT Goes Statewide in Delaware

Delaware announced yesterday that it will offer every 11th grader the chance to take the SAT, free of charge, during the school day. As my colleague Caralee Adams reports, it's part of the state's Race-to-the-Top-funded effort to boost college awareness and readiness among its students.

It's also notable as part of the story of rivalry between the College Board, which owns the SAT, and ACT Inc. The SAT has long been the most popular college-entrance test, but ACT has closed the gap steadily. And it's been doing that in part by nailing statewide contracts. (See my stories about the annual ACT and SAT score reports, and take a look at this blog post, too, for more on this rivalry, who's ahead, and how they're counting.)

The ACT has more statewide contracts than does the College Board. ACT spokesman Scott Gomer said that five states—Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee—require students to take the ACT. Two more, North Dakota and Wyoming, require students to take either the ACT or ACT's WorkKeys, a work-readiness assessment. Three more states—Arkansas, Texas, and Utah—offer students the chance to take the ACT free of charge, but don't require it.

The SAT, by contrast, does versions of this in three states. Delaware, as you just read, is offering the test to all juniors free of charge. Texas offers the test as well, but it's up to each school district to opt into that program, College Board spokesman Peter Kauffmann told me. Maine, by contrast, requires all 11th graders to take the SAT as part of its accountability system.

Sources of mine that are familiar with the College Board's work tell me that it is making a point of securing more statewide contracts. Kauffmann declined to discuss that, saying he would have to get back to me.

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