New ACT test saves you time and money

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New ACT test saves you time and money

Julia Henning, online editor

ACT officials recently announced a new change for the test that would allow students to retake the specific sections of the test that they scored lower on. 

The ACT has been around since the 1960s as a way for schools and colleges to measure a consistent level of college readiness for all students around the world. Students can spend a large amount of money and time for standardized testing prep, both the SAT and ACT, and when desired scores are not achieved in just one or two sections, it means the student must sit through the entire test again when they really could just study the sections they want to take. This change could save time trying to restudy for all of the sections instead of putting time towards sections that are already at the mark. There has not been a price announced yet for just taking one section.

Standardized testing matters in the college admissions process which causes a lot of students to feel pressure to achieve high scores on the SAT and ACT. About 25% of American colleges have now become test optional, but that still leaves a large amount of schools that want the scores. 

This change will not come into effect until September of 2020, so until then, it is unknown how colleges will review and compare scores. It does bring up the question of whether colleges will use the method of “super scoring” anymore. “I don’t think anybody knows truly how this will play out,” Scottie Hill, director of college counseling, said. “I am not that worried though because most colleges and universities have super scored both the SAT and the ACT long before anybody applying to college ever used the word super score.”

Super scoring is used by colleges at the time of reviewing an application to take a students’ best grades from each section from each time they’ve taken their SAT or ACT and give a cumulative score to present the best portfolio, but with the new test, it could eliminate that if a student is already taking the individual section again. “If you think about it, the better your score looks, the better the person who recruited you looks, the better their boss looks, the better their board of trustees looks, so it’s always been in everybody’s interest to have student’s score look the best possible.”

This change also benefits the company behind the ACT. They have been in competition with the SAT for years, and the change could increase the amount of students taking and the amount they are spending on the tests. Both companies are in battle to be the superior test, and always coming up with new tactics. This includes the SAT’s method of “adversity scoring” announced in May which would incorporate a student’s socioeconomic background into their score.

All of these tactics, including the new ACT retakes, are debated over whether they are genuine steps to put the students’ interests first or if they are just more PR for these companies. “They are trying any which way they can to get an advantage,” Hill said, “And so I view this more as a marketing ploy than really answering a student concern or a college concern, but if it helps my students have really wonderful test scores, then that’s great.”