The ACT is out; the SAT is in

Caitlin Danborn, Assistant Editor

On Tuesday, April 11, the junior class of 2018 took the SAT, the first class to take the SAT as a state-mandated test since 2001. In 2015, Colorado lawmakers decided that the Colorado Department of Education needed to choose a new college entrance exam and a new exam for sophomores. The College Board, the company that owns the SAT, won a bid against the ACT.


“There’s a lot of buy-in this state mandated assessment because it does really inform [students] about their potential for not only admission to college but success in college,” says Arvada West principal Dr. Robert Bishop.


In previous years, the SAT was taken only by about 30 kids, says Bishop. Since this is the first year that the test is required, the class of 2018s scores will be the baseline data for future A-West students.


The SAT is more math heavy than the ACT and does not have a separate science section, like the ACT, according to the Arvada West counselor in charge of the transition, Stacia Taves. The SAT also has more reading, but has fewer questions than the ACT.


We changed our strategies for the ways that we prepared our students for the SAT test as opposed to the ACT.  I had conversations with all of the Department Managers and each department took on a different role for SAT test prep,” says Taves.


Both Bishop and Taves agree that whether the ACT or the SAT will be more valuable in preparing students for life after high school is still unknown.


“We will wait to see the student’s scores for this first SAT administration and then adjust our strategies accordingly to help the students be as successful as possible to keep their post-secondary options open,” says Taves.

The preparation is us. As long as we evolve and we learn the test and the differences between the two and we evolve our prep program and evolve our curriculum a little bit that will be the tell-tale sign,” says Bishop.


Bishop’s hope for the junior class is “that they see the value, just like previous classes saw the value in the ACT.”