To receive federal funding, states are required by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) to adopt accountability tests intended to measure student and school success. In response to this mandate, several states have adopted a college entrance exam (the SAT® or the ACT Test®) as their statewide accountability test.
Requiring students to take these college entrance exams confers several advantages, such as providing a standard method to compare students across schools, increasing the stakes and incentives for students, and reducing the number of unique standardized tests that students take. An additional (and intended) consequence of using a college entrance exam as the accountability test is that students overcome an important hurdle associated with college enrollment.
This study examines Maine’s 2006 adoption of the SAT as its accountability assessment to estimate the causal impact of such a policy change on 4-year college enrollment.
The results suggest that the policy increased 4-year college-going rates by 2- to 3-percentage points and that 4-year college-going rates among induced students increased by 10-percentage points.