ACT loses appeal over Michigan’s decision to switch to SAT

Jan 27, 2015

The state has rejected ACT’s claim that Michigan unfairly switched its free college entrance exam to the SAT starting in spring 2016.

ACT protested two aspects of the bidding process. It said the state changed the timeline of the proposed contract and penalized ACT for having a writing portion. It says both of those things unfairly benefitted SAT.

State officials say they reviewed those concerns carefully.

“We determined this not to be the case - that everything was essentially proposed fairly, that the process was carried out in the manner in which state law allows for,” said Caleb Buhs, a spokesperson for the state budget office.

“Somebody who was not involved with the original request for proposal and the awarding of the contract did a fair and neutral review of the points raised in the protest letter and determined that the contract was awarding fairly and that the protest was effectively denied.”

State education and budget officials say SAT won out because the test itself scored better, is better aligned to the state’s standards, and will save the state $15 million dollars over the three-year contract.

ACT will still provide a smaller portion of the standardized tests high school juniors take every year starting in 2016.

“While we are of course disappointed in the decision, ACT is moving forward in working with the state on administration of The ACT and ACT WorkKeys this year, as well as other ACT assessments used by schools and districts throughout the state,” ACT said in a statement.

“We look forward to supporting Michigan’s students, parents and educators through the continued administration of ACT WorkKeys assessments statewide and to offering all students the opportunity to take The ACT on our national test dates next year and moving forward.”

The SAT’s contract still must be approved by the State Administrative Board. Buhs says the board is likely to consider the contract during its next meeting on February 3rd.