ACT Changes

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In September, the ACT announced their plans to change the process students had previously followed to receive better scores. Before these changes are implemented in September of 2020, students who wanted to score better on an individual section of the test had no choice but to retake the entire test. This was beneficial for students who applied to colleges that accept Superscores: an option which takes the best score students have in each section on any test and combines them into a highest possible test score. 

After the implementation of these changes, the ACT will allow students to retake individual sections of the test. It costs 52 dollars to take the entire test and it costs 68 dollars to take the test with the additional writing section, according to the ACT website. With the changes being put into place, retakes of individual sections will cost less, but the amount has not been disclosed yet. Although the cost is different, the actual content of the test will stay the same for the versions of the individual sections and the versions of the whole test being distributed.

Students who are a part of the class of 21 or later will be affected directly by these changes, but students, such as seniors, are feeling its effects. One such student is senior Jennifer He who said she understands why the ACT is making these changes.

“It makes sense for the ACT to offer individual section tests,” He said. “It decreases the pressure on students and makes it more appealing to students over other standardized tests. If a student knows they can take seperate parts of the ACT to improve each section’s score and they can’t do the same on another test, it’s super likely that they’ll start to prefer the ACT over other tests.”

Despite being able to acknowledge the pros of the changes, He admits that she wishes she had this opportunity.

“I know it won’t make that much of a difference since many schools already superscore their applicant’s scores, but having the opportunity to take just one section on a test day and submit the best scores from each section individually would’ve been so helpful for me instead of having to retake the entire test because I thought I could do better on just one section.”

The classes of 22 and later are able to benefit from this because the changes will be put into place before they begin taking the ACT for college submission in their junior year. Sophomore Alexander Houts said he’s happy to see these changes because he believes it will change his standardized testing experience.

“I think [the changes] are a really good thing,” Houts said. “I know the content that’s on the tests because we learn them in school, but I’m not really the best test taker. If I can redo individual sections, then I can just focus on improving my score for one part instead of having to divide my attention and time.”

Houts said that he expects other standardized testing companies to change and follow the ACT’s lead.

“I definitely think the SAT is going to change after this,” Houts said. “If they don’t, everyone is just going to prefer to take the ACT, so they have to do it so everyone doesn’t stop taking the SAT because they’ll do better score wise by taking individual sections on the ACT.”

It’s not just students that had strong feelings about the soon-to-be implemented changes in the ACT. Counsellor Meghan Standefer said she was surprised to hear the news about it, along with her fellow BVN counsellors.

“I actually hadn’t been told anything about [the changes],” Standefer said. “I just turned on the news and, when I heard it, the other counsellors and I were all texting each other like, ‘Did you hear about this?!’. We couldn’t believe it.”

Standefer said she wants to see a positive outcome in the standardized testing industry because of the changes the ACT is making.

“I’m hoping that this will change how we value standardized testing,” Standefer said. “With the individual section tests, it’s probable that more kids will start getting perfect scores, so test scores won’t be as big a deal in college admission and kids will stop feeling so pressured because of them.”