"The best way to predict your future is to create it." Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln High School Statesman

"The best way to predict your future is to create it." Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln High School Statesman

"The best way to predict your future is to create it." Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln High School Statesman

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The ACT advantage: South Dakota’s new plans for state testing

Starting+in+the+2025-2026+school+year%2C+the+Sioux+Falls+School+District+plans+to+replace+the+states+smarter+balanced+exam+with+the+ACT.+
Leah Mannes
Starting in the 2025-2026 school year, the Sioux Falls School District plans to replace the state’s smarter balanced exam with the ACT.

As junior testing rapidly approaches, many juniors prepare for the morning full of testing that awaits them after the break. However, this may be one of the last years that any high school students have to take these district exams. Currently, all juniors must take the state Smarter Balanced assessment to measure their school’s success in math, science, reading and writing. This exam does not affect students’ grades or impact their futures whatsoever, causing many not to try and to devote their time and effort elsewhere. This has led to the recent incentives at LHS wherein students are exempted from semester tests their senior year if they do well enough.
Lately, a bill has been passed that will require students to take the ACT as opposed to the Smarter Balanced test. This could be an extremely beneficial tool as many students already have studied and plan to take the ACT. This will allow students to focus on studying for the ACT and not have to worry about taking the state’s standardized tests as well. Though many colleges do not require ACT scores for acceptance, many use them to grant scholarships so students’ results will also contribute to that.
Titled House Bill 1002, this bill was introduced by Tony Venhuizen, a representative from Pierre. After being enacted on Jan. 12, 2024, the bill will likely go into effect for juniors in the ‘25-’26 school year. This change was agreed on by unanimous vote 14 yeas to no nays. The bill specifically states “Each public school student, enrolled in grade eleven, shall, in addition to any other assessment or test required by this chapter, take the ACT, including the writing test. Each student’s ACT registration fee must be paid by the student’s school district. The Department of Education shall, with money appropriated in the General Appropriations Act, reimburse each school district for the registration fees.”
Another positive aspect that comes from making this switch is cost. As this is a mandatory assessment the cost to take it will be covered by the school district. This opens opportunities for kids who previously may not be able to afford the cost of taking the ACT to be able to take it. And as well as this also gives students who do plan to take the ACT another attempt at it to try and improve their scores. It is also notable that South Dakota would not be the first state to make this switch, currently, Alabama, Hawaii, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina and Wisconsin all require students to take the test with the writing portion, as well as Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Utah and Wyoming all requiting the test without the writing portion.
Overall, this new bill is seen as a very exciting opportunity for students as their state testing will now have much more of an impact than it did before. The switch will hopefully bring positive change and encourage students to work harder as it will be useful for more than just state evaluations but also personal student use.

To learn more about the bill visit: https://sdlegislature.gov/Session/Bill/24593

 

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About the Contributors
Stella Sonnichsen
Stella Sonnichsen, Staff Writer
Stella Sonnichsen is a junior and first-year staff writer for the Statesman. She is a member of the LHS colorguard and participates in competitive dance. Sonnichsen is also a social media coordinator for the LHS Young Progressives Club. When she is not busy studying she can be found reading, doing yoga and getting Qdoba or Icee’s with friends.
Leah Mannes
Leah Mannes, Staff Writer
Leah Mannes is a junior and a first-year staff writer for the Statesman. She is a part of the LHS soccer and basketball teams and participates in SNHS and MNHS. Mannes can often be found blasting Zach Bryan in her car, rewatching “The Notebook” or using her digital camera to capture moments with her friends. If she seems lost in her own world, it is probably because she is daydreaming about moving to the mountains.
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