Eleventh-graders would be required to take college admission test

All Nebraska 11th-graders would take a college admission test under a bill proposed to the Education Committee Jan. 25.

LB930, introduced by Sen. Jim Scheer of Norfolk, would require public school students in the 11th grade to take a college admission test, such as the ACT or SAT, instead of current Nebraska State Accountability (NeSA) assessments.

Scheer said requiring students to take a college admission test in place of the state assessment would encourage them to think seriously about college or their careers after high school. The bill would help families who want their children to take a college admission test but cannot afford the registration fee, he said.

“The intent is not to add another test,” Scheer said. “It is simply replacing it with one that the students find more beneficial and useful.”

Bob Evnen, a former member of the state board of education, testified in support of the bill, saying that there is a strong correlation between the ACT and the state’s current testing standards for reading, math and science. If all students instead were required to take a college admission test, he said, it would help teachers identify promising students who otherwise might have been overlooked.

Students also feel more motivated to do well on the ACT than on the state assessments, Evnen added.

“Students care about the ACT,” he said. “They really can’t find a reason to care about the NeSA test.”

The bill would require the state Department of Education to reimburse school districts the difference between the cost of registration and administration fees for the college admission test and the cost for administering the current statewide tests.

No one testified in opposition to the bill and the committee took no immediate action on it.

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