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Mounds View High School's student news site.

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Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Why does Minnesota favor ACT over SAT?

Historically, the ACT has been preferred by schools throughout the Midwest.
Why+does+Minnesota+favor+ACT+over+SAT%3F
Matthew Betti

The ACT standardized test is the most commonly taken test in Minnesota with about 68% of the Minnesota graduating class taking the test in 2023, according to ACT Inc. The ACT was first introduced in 1959 by Everett Franklin Lindquist, a professor from the University of Iowa, beginning a rivalry with the SAT which began administration 33 years earlier in 1926. 

The ACT and SAT were created with very different purposes in mind. As an aptitude test, the SAT was created with a focus on assisting Ivy League admissions in identifying the most talented applicants, while the ACT was originally developed as an alternative for students who were interested in less selective colleges and for measuring high school proficiency. However, both tests have evolved to become more similar, and the SAT no longer measures aptitude.  

Historically, the SAT was most popular in the East and West Coast, while the ACT was most popular in the Midwest. This is largely because each test originated in those respective regions. This trend still holds true today, as in the East and West coast, about 35% of students report taking the ACT, compared to about 73% for the rest of the US, including the Midwest and South, according to a 2022 report from College Raptor. 

At Mounds View specifically, the ACT is the dominant standardized test. In 2012, ACT Inc. proposed to Mounds View the idea of administering the ACT for free to students during the school day, according to Mary Stobb, director of research, evaluation, and assessment in the Mounds View school district. Mounds View accepted with the hope that this would increase students’ access to the ACT. “We were the first to offer the ACT for free to all students. The rest of the state followed us,” said Principal Robert Reetz. 

In the years following that, Minnesota Statute 120B.30 determined that all high schools had to offer a college readiness exam to juniors (and seniors if they did not participate as a junior) and pay for the testing fees for all students eligible for free or reduced lunch. Schools were then able to make the choice of which college readiness exam to offer students. As Mounds View had already begun administering the ACT during the school day before any requirements, the school continued to do so as their chosen college readiness exam. 

Students in the Midwest do take the SAT, but at much lower frequencies. According to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, only about three percent of Minnesota high school seniors take the SAT. Mounds View has about two to four students take the SAT during each individual administration,” said Stobb. Minnesota students taking the SAT often do so under the circumstance of hoping to be admitted into highly selective colleges or schools in different regions of the country. 

Overall, the reason Minnesota favors the ACT comes down to its history in the Midwest and the availability for taking it here. When it comes to college admissions, most colleges have grown to accept either test today, and students should take the test they feel is best for them.

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About the Contributors
Charlotte Krum
Charlotte Krum, Good Questions Editor
Hi! My name is Charlotte, and I’m a senior. This is my second year with The Viewer. I’m very excited to be an illustrator and the Good Question Editor 2023-2034 school year! I enjoy playing tennis, figure skating, drawing and listening to music.
Matthew Betti
Matthew Betti, Staff Reporter
Matthew is a sophomore staff reporter, and this year is his first year on The Viewer.
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