Options in education are expanding. Students can attend traditional public high schools, private schools, online, and even hybrid schools. Since each one of these schools presents education differently, are the testing and graduation requirements different? What about standardized tests like ACT and SAT? Do all students have to take these?
The simple answer is, “It depends on the state.” States set education requirements and schools and districts operating within those states have to abide by these rules. However, this answer still leaves a lot of unanswered questions!
There are a handful of states that require the SAT for graduation for all high schools, including traditional “brick and mortar” schools as well as online and alternative schools.
Colorado requires SAT for all students as a part of their state testing. Other states that require SAT include Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. In Colorado, students do have the right to “opt out” of standardized testing, but if they do, they still have to demonstrate competency in key areas like reading and math before they graduate.
ACT and Other Tests
Just like some states require SAT, other states require ACT. These include Alabama, Hawaii, Kentucky, Nebraska, Montana, North Carolina, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Still other states require students to take either the SAT or ACT. Some allow ACT WorkKeys or other tests that are known locally. And, yes, these requirements exist for all schools, online and traditional alike.
The bottom line is that states want schools to demonstrate that their students are prepared for life after high school. This can be done in a number of ways, depending on the state and district.
A variety of test scores, a certain GPA, or participation in concurrent enrollment can all be used demonstrate competency, depending on the requirements of the district and the state. This can seem like a hurdle to some students, but really it is a way to check that schools are doing their best job to prepare students for life after high school. Whether students attend traditional or online high school, competency requirements can be a part of ensuring that all students receive the kind of education they need to prepare for college and career goals after high school.