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ACT Test to Provide New Options Designed to Offer Students More Choices, Faster Results

Next school year, ACT will introduce individual section retesting, online testing on national test dates, and superscore calculations

IOWA CITY, Iowa—ACT, the maker of the ACT® test used in college admissions, today announced plans to introduce three new options to improve students’ test-taking experience and increase their opportunities for college admissions and scholarships.

Beginning with the September 2020 national ACT test date, students who have taken the ACT will have the option to retake individual sections of the ACT test instead of the entire exam.

Students will also have the choice of taking the ACT online, with faster test results, on national test dates, and those who take the test more than once will be provided an ACT “superscore” that calculates their highest possible ACT composite score.

“Students come first at ACT, and these groundbreaking new options will directly benefit them, providing more choices, an improved testing experience, and a better opportunity to showcase their readiness and reach their maximum potential,” said Suzana Delanghe, ACT chief commercial officer. “With these changes, ACT is evolving to meet students in the digital world in which they live. We want to do a better job of helping them succeed.”

New Options Address Student Needs

The three new options are based on feedback from students, parents, teachers, counselors, administrators and higher education officials and supported by the organization’s latest research and technology enhancements.
  • ACT Section Retesting: For the first time in the 60-year history of the ACT test, students who have already taken the test will be allowed to retake individual ACT section tests (English, math, reading, science and/or writing), rather than having to take the entire ACT test again.
  • Online testing with faster score results: Students will, for the first time, have the option of online or paper testing on national test days at ACT test centers (selected test centers initially, eventually expanding to all). The test is currently administered only on paper on national test dates. Online testing offers faster results compared to traditional paper-based administration—two days compared to around two weeks.
  • ACT superscoring: ACT will report a superscore for students who have taken the ACT test more than once, giving colleges the option to use the student’s best scores from all test administrations, rather than scores from just one sitting, in their admission and scholarship decisions. New ACT research suggests that superscoring is actually more predictive of how students will perform in their college courses than other scoring methods.

The content and format of the ACT test itself will not change. Only the administration and reporting methods will be different.

“The ACT test will remain the same valid, reliable indicator of student readiness for success in college that it has always been—one that is based on 60 years of research and measures what’s taught in the classroom,” said Delanghe. “Our research shows that ACT scores for students who take individual section tests are consistent with those earned when they take the entire test. We are simply offering new ways to take the ACT, saving students time and giving them the ability to focus only on subject areas needing improvement.”

ACT is leveraging its years of experience with online testing in its plan to offer an online testing option on national test dates. ACT online testing is already used by some states and school districts that administer the test to all students as well as in all international ACT test centers.

“These new options are breakthroughs based on research and the latest technological capabilities, as the testing industry moves into the 21st century,” said Delanghe. “Colleges rely on multiple measures of student readiness for success, including high school grades, courses taken and, of course, test scores. ACT scores are the best way to ensure colleges have a fair, valid and consistent standard by which to measure the readiness of students from across the country and around the world.”

Assisting Learners with Free Test Prep Resources

ACT will continue to offer students free learning and test prep resources through its online ACT Academy. Students will be able to take a free practice online test to help them determine if they prefer this format or the traditional paper format. And all materials will be updated to support understanding of the new options available to students.

ACT will continue its fee waiver program for students from low-income households, providing free testing for the entire test or for individual section tests as well as continuing to offer free test prep and free score reporting to support their college and scholarship applications.

More details are available online at www.act.org/morechoices. Additional details about the rollout of these options, including pricing information, will be announced in the months ahead.



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About ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Grounded in 60 years of research, ACT is a trusted leader in college and career readiness solutions. Each year, ACT serves millions of students, job seekers, schools, government agencies and employers in the US and around the world with learning resources, assessments, research and credentials designed to help them succeed from elementary school through career.

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