HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ The U.S. Department of Education has signed off on Connecticut’s plan to relieve thousands of high school juniors from having to take an unpopular standardized test.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Thursday that federal authorities have approved the waiver his office submitted seeking to replace the 11th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment, or SBAC exam, with the SAT.

The change will take effect in the 2015-2016 school year.

The General Assembly recently passed legislation that would swap the tests. Lawmakers said they heard complaints from students, parents and teachers about the large amount of standardized testing being conducted in the state, especially among 11th grade students.

About 85 percent of Connecticut students already take the SAT.

Malloy’s office said it sought federal approval for the swap last fall to mitigate over-testing.