The Land of Lincoln has entered the 21st century. Illinois just happens to be 17 years late to the party. Y2K anyone? But, Ivy Coach, what ever are you talking about? As reports Karen Berkowitz for “The Chicago Tribune,” the state requires high school juniors to take the SAT in April. This alone is quite silly if you ask us since colleges value the SAT and ACT equally. So why would Illinois mandate that students take the SAT in April of junior year? Particularly when many of these students might be better at the ACT. It’s absolutely ludicrous if you ask us and, arguably, an attempt to restrain the trade of ACT. Feel free to send us a “thank you” note, ACT, for having your back. Just to hammer home how ridiculous this mandate is…imagine a student takes the ACT in fall of junior year and scores a 36. They’re done. And now they have to sit for a wholly unnecessary SAT in April? Illinois, get it together!
And just when you thought Illinois really didn’t have it together, there’s more. It’s like “QVC.” Oh wait, there’s more! As Berkowitz reports, “The state’s switch to the College Board’s SAT as the required exam for Illinois high school juniors has generated some test anxiety among parents who would rather the scores not appear on the transcripts sent to colleges and universities. Responding to constituents’ appeals, two north suburban lawmakers introduced legislation earlier this year to change the mandate that scores from the state-required SAT appear on student transcripts. Senate Bill 757 sponsored by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) passed the Illinois Senate unanimously May 3 on a 54-0 vote.”
Yes, you read that correctly. High schools across Illinois have been inserting the results of this ridiculous mandated SAT on high school transcripts. Allow us to give our readers (and high school administrators across the Land of Lincoln) some legal background. While FERPA (or the Buckley Amendment) was first established in the 1970’s, it wasn’t until the 1990’s that high schools across the country began taking it seriously. Before this time, it was standard practice for high school administrators to include standardized test scores (e.g., SATs, ACTs, APs, etc.) on students’ transcripts. But even ten years after FERPA’s passage, if you asked most high school counselors across the nation, you’d find that they were still including scores on transcripts. And because parents didn’t know that this seemingly insignificant act violated their children’s rights, they didn’t know to ask that these scores be redacted. If a particular college to which a student applied wanted these scores, the student would have to send official scores from the testing agency. In fact, even if the scores were printed on the transcript, most colleges still required official scores.
Think of FERPA to education as what HIPAA is to medicine.
As many of the parents of our students at Ivy Coach are physicians and we all see physicians at one point or another in the course of our lives, allow us to make an analogy. What these schools in the Land of Lincoln — and, yes, there are other schools across the nation that do it too — are doing is essentially the equivalent of a doctor sharing your medical ailments with several of your closest friends who also happen to be patients of the same practice. That is of course a clear and express violation of HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. These high schools are violating the FERPA rights of students in much the same way. It is a violation of law — SAT scores have no place on transcripts.
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