INDIANAPOLIS — The state wants more high school sophomores and juniors to take a preparatory version of the SAT, so it's covering the cost of the test.
The Indiana Department of Education said Thursday it would pay the fee for students to take the Preliminary SAT, or PSAT. Previously, many parents or students had to shell out $13 for the exam, which helps students prepare for the important SAT college admissions test.
“By removing preparatory exam fees from the equation, Indiana has eliminated another obstacle to preparing Hoosier students for college success,” said Suellen Reed, the state's superintendent for public instruction.
The state has offered free tests to some 11th-graders in the past, but did not have enough money to cover all of them or any 10th-graders.
The Department of Education said the state's newly negotiated contract with the College Board, which owns the test, gives Indiana a discounted rate of $10.40 per test, as well as professional development opportunities for educators.
The lower rate allows the department to offer free tests to all sophomores and juniors without spending more than $1.8 million — paid for with savings from Indiana's revamped statewide testing system.
Reed has encouraged students to take rigorous high school classes and take the PSAT — steps she hopes can boost scores.
Graduating seniors in 2008 who had previously taken the PSAT scored an average of 250 points higher on the SAT than those who didn't take the PSAT, the Indiana Department of Education said.