The ACT has become the most widely used college admission test, but to keep up with the SAT it, too, is headed for a redesign that will come out in early 2016.
What remains the same is the format for testing in English, reading, science, and math; but the optional essay, which more than half the ACT takers choose and which is required for selective colleges, will morph. The essay has provided students with two positions on an issue. The student then needs to choose one position and support it in a 30 minute time limit. The new essay will likely provide students more than 30 minutes and will require students to come up with their own position on a complex issue and analyze their position with reasoning, knowledge, and experience. The essay will be scored on a scale of 2 to 12.
Another change that will make the ACT more like the SAT is they will report combined scores. One combined score will include English, reading, and writing, much like the SAT verbal score; and the second combined score will include math and science.
The SAT, which has required the essay, is now making the essay optional and has lengthened the writing time to 50 minutes.
Another idea the ACT test makers are playing with is making the test available in an online version. Students would no longer have to take the test with pen and paper.