State Passes Bill Removing SAT Scores From Student Transcripts

Photo+by+Ben+Mullins+on+Unsplash

Ben Mullins

Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash

Grahm Tuohy-Gaydos, Editor-in-Chief

On July 8th, Governor Polis signed Senate Bill SB 20-175 into law, successfully ending a year long effort to support student’s privacy rights. Before the bill’s signing, students who attended Colorado Public High Schools were supposed to have their SAT and ACT scores displayed prominently on the top of their transcripts. This requirement was put in place in many states across the country as a result of the “No Child Left Behind” laws of the late 1990’s. The Colorado Board of Education followed suit, and mandated that students take the SAT test in order to graduate, and placed the scores directly on the transcript as an easy way to ensure that students met their graduation requirements.

Almost immediately, parents across the country filed lawsuits claiming this was a violation of the FERPA ACT of 1974. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act was signed into law by President Gerald Ford and essentially protected the privacy of student’s data by limiting access to educational records by public entities without consent. The College Board, the company that administers the SAT exam, is a private company and is not officially part of the public school assessment and therefore does not have a right to be placed on a student’s official transcript. Due to these lawsuits, many states removed the requirement, but it has remained unchallenged in Colorado.

Over the years the importance of SAT and ACT exam scores has decreased in the college application process. By 2019, over 1400 Colleges and Universities have become “test optional”, which essentially gives students the choice on whether to submit their scores to a school for consideration. Unfortunately, by placing SAT scores on HS transcripts, Colorado was essentially removing that choice from the students and potentially harming their chance of acceptance. When COVID-19 forced the cancellation of many of the SAT tests throughout the spring and summer, the problem only became more exacerbated.

Colorado State Representative Briana Titone co-sponsored the bill that essentially states that assessment scores would no longer appear on a student’s transcript. This does not bar a student from submitting their test scores to colleges, but no longer makes it possible for colleges to have access to this data without a student’s consent. This is a clear win for privacy advocates, but more importantly it should hopefully alleviate the stress of thousands of Colorado Seniors applying to colleges next fall.