When high school juniors in Illinois take the state-required SAT college preparatory exam on Wednesday, April 5, the results of that specific test will be become part of their permanent record and included in their transcript — unless the Illinois General Assembly prevents it.
State Rep. Scott Drury (D-Highwood) proposed a bill that removes the transcript requirement from the ISBE mandate, which is new in 2017, while leaving it on the permanent record, which colleges do not see. Click here to see the bill and its history. The bill was proposed on February 3, unanimously passed the Illinois House of Representatives March 29 and arrived in the State Senate April 4 for consideration.
“It should not be on the transcript unless the student or parent wants it to be,” said Drury. “Under the law now if a student takes the test five times, only the score from the test given by the school shows.”
The current law does not give students an opportunity to present their academic record in the best light, he said. He believes students and their families should have some choice in how they present themselves to colleges.
“Every student has a permanent record from the time they are very young until they graduate high school,” said Drury. “It is not disclosed to colleges. Parents and students can see it. The only thing colleges see is the transcript.”
If the law does not change, Lake Forest High School will put the score on the transcript during the second semester of the student’s senior year, according to communication from the school to parents. At New Trier High School, it will be done after graduation, according to a letter from the school to parents.
The ISBE put the transcript requirement in the mandate to provide an incentive to students and their schools without creating a highly pressurized situation, according to ISBE spokesperson Megan Griffin.
“The requirement to put students’ test scores on their transcripts was intended to provide students an incentive to take the test seriously and help districts ensure they met their 95% federal testing threshold, without creating a true ‘high stakes’ test requirement (like a graduation requirement),” Griffin said in an email to DailyNorthShore.com on April 4.
Griffin also said in the email the ISBE does not have a problem with giving parents the option to have the score removed from the transcript. Legislation introduced by state Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) on February 1 gives that choice to a student’s parent or legal guardian. Click here to see the bill and its history.
Morrison said she introduced her legislation after hearing concerns over the transcript requirement from constituents from both Northbrook and Highland Park. She said she worked with the ISBE to develop the opt-out proposal. She said she has since changed her mind and prefers eliminating the requirement altogether.
“After talking to people, I learned they preferred removing the transcript requirement,” said Morrison. “I intend to amend my bill to reflect that.”
Drury said that after hearing from a college counselor at Highland Park High School, he began working with members of the Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling and listening to their concerns.
“They’re the boots-on-the-ground folks who know what is best for the students,” said Drury. “They deal with these issues on a daily basis.”
While placing the score on the transcript may help some people save money by removing some application costs, it limits the ability for a student to present himself or herself in the best possible light, according to Mimi Ritchie of Glencoe, an independent college consultant.
Ritchie said some students perform better on the SAT, while others may score higher on the ACT. She also said colleges look at the tests equally even though the state requires the SAT. It required the ACT until this year.
At this time, Ritchie said more than 900 colleges do not require either the SAT or ACT. Giving those schools the score on the transcript can create a prejudice that should not exist. She said some states do not have this requirement, which makes for another inequality.