Commissioner Virginia M. Barry announced today that the New Hampshire Executive Council approved the Department of Education’s plan to replace the 11th grade Smarter Balanced statewide assessment with the College Board’s SAT in the spring of 2016. This plan is an important step in the Department’s commitment to reduce the amount of time spent on statewide standardized testing for public high school students and ensure that all students are prepared to succeed in college and careers. The SAT will cover English/Language Arts (reading, writing) and mathematics and will be at no cost for every 11th grade student required to take the assessment.
“The New Hampshire Department of Education has worked with its school districts to find consensus around using an assessment at the high school that may be more valuable to students – an assessment that they would find helpful as they are preparing for life after high school,” Commissioner Barry said. “The request from the field to use the College Board’s SAT for the high school statewide assessment has been widely accepted throughout the state.”
In addition to reducing duplicative testing for many students, by providing the SAT as a part of the statewide assessment, the Department of Education is ensuring that all students in the state, regardless of economic circumstances, are able to use this exam to consider higher education opportunities. The SAT typically costs individual students over $50.
Known by most as a college entrance exam, the SAT is already familiar to many students and educators in the state. The College Board, provider of the SAT, has a strong presence in New Hampshire through a number of other programs, including AP® and the PSAT/NMSQT®. The redesigned SAT and PSAT/NMSQT, along with the PSAT 8/9 and PSAT 10, help make it easier for students to succeed by connecting them with opportunities for fee waivers, scholarships, and free, personalized tools on KhanAcademy.org.
This summer, the U.S. Department of Education approved a request from New Hampshire to receive continued flexibility from certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). New Hampshire has received this flexibility from NCLB in order to support improved achievement in schools where one-size-fits-all solutions may not suit their individual needs and circumstances. As part of the reform plan put together by New Hampshire officials that is designed to deliver every student with a high quality education that prepares them for college and career, it was determined that students would greatly benefit from the one-day, statewide administration of this rigorous assessment. As a result, students will take fewer tests, but be connected to more opportunities to succeed, and it will enable parents, students, and educators to better understand where students are in their readiness to continue their educational aspirations.
“The College Board believes that assessments should be an engine of opportunity, used to inform instruction and propel students toward college and career readiness. The redesigned SAT, which New Hampshire 11th-graders will take for free in March, measures the few things evidence show matter most for readiness and reflects what students are learning in classes across the state. Our assessments help make it easier for students to succeed by connecting them with opportunities for college application fee waivers, scholarships, and free, personalized practice tools on Khan Academy. Working closely with New Hampshire leaders, we will ensure that more students, parents, and educators across the state can benefit from the opportunities connected to our assessments,” said Cyndie Schmeiser, College Board Chief of Assessment.
There are several value-added components that will benefit New Hampshire educators, families, and schools with the implementation of the SAT, including:
- A redesigned SAT that focuses on the skills and knowledge that evidence shows are needed most for college and career success. The redesigned exam reflects what students are already learning in their classrooms.
- Free, personalized SAT practice resources from Khan Academy. The College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to provide all students with free anytime/anywhere access to online, interactive resources, which will complement and reinforce the great work already happening in New Hampshire classrooms, and will include official SAT practice questions and full-length tests. Teachers and students will also receive detailed information on student progress to guide next steps.
- Money-saving scholarship opportunities and college application fee waivers. By opting in to the College Board’s Student Search Service®, New Hampshire students will be connected to scholarship and financial aid opportunities from more than 1,200 colleges, universities, scholarship programs, and educational organizations. In addition, all low-income SAT takers in New Hampshire who meet the criteria outlined in the College Board’s RFP response will receive four college application fee test waivers to use at over 2,000 participating institutions.
- In-person and technology-based professional development for: local assessment administrators, proctors, and technology coordinators, teachers, school counselors, students, and parents, to help them understand the redesigned SAT and analyze test results.
For more information on New Hampshire’s partnership with the College Board, please contact Heather Gage at Heather.Gage@doe.nh.gov or 603-271-5992.