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Background on the PSAT and SAT in Colorado

Background on the PSAT and SAT in Colorado

On Dec. 23, 2015, the Colorado Department of Education announced that the College Board’s revised SAT and PSAT exams had been chosen by an independent selection committee to serve as the new college entrance and 10th-grade exams for Colorado students.  

  • In May 2015, the Colorado legislature passed H.B. 15-1323 which, among other things, required the department to go through a competitive procurement process for both a college entrance exam and a new 10th-grade exam. The new law required the college exam to be administered throughout the United States and relied upon by institutions of higher education. In addition, the new 10th-grade exam had to be aligned to both the Colorado Academic Standards and to the college entrance exam. The department issued a request for proposals for these exams in November 2015 and received bids from two vendors, College Board and ACT.

  • After a thorough review of the proposals, sample tests and student reports, the 15-member selection committee made up of educators and district administrators from urban, rural and suburban communities across Colorado, with a single CDE representative, recommended College Board’s SAT as the college entrance exam and PSAT as the 10th-grade exam. Read the decision memo

  • On Jan. 11, 2016, the Colorado Department of Education received approval to administer the ACT exam to high school juniors in 2016 with the transition to the SAT to take place in 2017. The agreement did not change the selection committee’s unanimous decision to award College Board a five-year contract to administer the PSAT and SAT to Colorado’s 10th- and 11th-grade students. Under the agreement, the 2016 10th-graders would take the PSAT in preparation for Colorado’s full transition to the SAT in spring 2017.  Read the news release.

  • It is important for parents and students to know that the SAT is an approved, recognized assessment option in the Colorado Commission on Higher Education’s Admissions Standards Policy and a well-established, recognized credential presented by students from around the world.  Also, all public colleges and universities in Colorado have experience understanding and interpreting SAT results in the context of their admissions processes and will accept the new SAT for admission and scholarship consideration purposes.

Additional information: 

Commissioner's Communications

Letter to superintendents: January 4, 2016 11th-Grade Assessment (PDF)

Letter to superintendents:December 23, 2015 High school assessments (PDF)

News Release

January 2016: 11th-graders to take the ACT in spring 2016

December 2015: SAT selected for Colorado's college entrance exam

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