Every April, students in Illinois public schools take the Prairie State ACT and submit the scores to their colleges of choice. We at Nurturing Wisdom love the Prairie State ACT – since students take it at school during the day, they traditionally do very well! However, due to recent changes, submitting these scores to colleges just became a lot harder. How will this affect your child?
What is the Prairie State ACT?
The Prairie State ACT is a real ACT taken by all Illinois public school students in late April. It is funded by the state of Illinois and taken as part of the state’s achievement testing. Students at private schools do not take this ACT.
How is it changing?
Due to funding cuts, the state of Illinois has eliminated the writing portion of the Prairie State ACT.
Why does this matter? Isn’t the writing section of the ACT optional?
Although the writing portion of the test is considered optional by the ACT, many colleges require this section for admissions. These colleges will not accept a student’s ACT scores unless the student took that particular ACT with the writing portion.
Other colleges don’t require the writing portion, but will accept it in lieu of SAT subject tests.
So does this mean my child can’t use their Prairie State ACT scores for university admissions?
Possibly. Check with the individual colleges your child is applying to, to see if they will accept the ACT without writing.
Can I opt to pay for the writing portion of the Prairie State ACT myself?
No, currently individual students and schools are not allowed to pay for the writing portion on their own. This means that no high school in Illinois will be offering the writing portion of the Prairie State ACT.
This is frustrating! What can I do?
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to change the state’s decision. However, we’d recommend that you register your son or daughter for the national ACT test date on April 14th, which is taken a few weeks before the Prairie State ACT.
That sounds like a lot of testing. Isn’t that overwhelming for students?
It can be, but many of our students have found the repetition of taking two tests so close together to be helpful. Also, keep in mind that the Prairie State ACT is taken during the school day, and doesn’t require any additional time commitment.
Is there any possibility that the state will reinstate funding for the writing portion?
There is a remote possibility that the state will decide to reinstate funding, but given the state’s financial situation, it is unlikely. We recommend that parents assume that the writing section will not be included on the test unless you hear otherwise.
Do you have any additional questions?
Feel free to contact us at 312.260.7945. We’d be happy to help!