Admission News

Changes to the ACT are Bigger than You Think

college-admissions-testing

Many already know the fall of 2015 ACT test will have changes. One change that has been outlined is the Optional Writing section will be evaluated in new areas: ideas and analysis, development and support, organization, and language use. The 1-36 rating scale will remain the same.

Recently ACT has revealed more changes, specifically to the way they report scores to admitting colleges in their ACT Student Score Report. Here is a list of some of the changes:

1. The first change will be, in addition to the scores on the five core sections, ACT wants to further divide scores into sub skills such as rhetoric, ideas and analysis, and 9 other areas, rated from 2 to 12.
2. ACT will also generate two new hybrid scores, an ELA score, based on combinations of English, reading and writing scores, and a STEM score, based on science and math scores.
3. The new report will provide one or two word assessments on “understanding complex texts.”
4. There will also be a bronze to gold level rating of a student’s skills assessing her future success in college and career.
5. Finally, ACT will provide a report on a student’s chances for success in both his major and in specific course work. The report will indicate the student can achieve a “B” or better or a “C” or better in program areas such as business, education, or liberal arts. The report will give the same rating on a student’s chance to attain a “B” or better or a “C” or better in courses such as freshman English, history calculus, etc.

This last area of reporting to college admission is troublesome for a couple reasons. First, this assessment of success which could influence admission is based on not only the scores the student has earned on the test itself but also on student-reported GPA and college-reported grade history of previous first-year students. Neither of these data are standardized or verifiably accurate.

The second problem is students and their parents will not see this assessment. It will not be on their copies of the Student Score Report. ACT explains that this information belongs to the colleges and that students, by self-reporting, have agreed to hand that information over to the colleges.

ACT has issued the following statement: “The recent enhancements we have made to the ACT Student Score Report reveal more data than we’ve provided before. The chance of success [report] belongs to the [college] institution, but if they provide permission, we will share that data on the ACT High School Score Report and in turn, a counselor or administrator may share it with the student.”

ACT test-takers should be forewarned.