ACT Announces Changes to Score Reports

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In 2014, the ACT had announced that it would be taking a look at its measurement indicators and Writing Test in an effort to continuously improve its exam and maintain accurate scoring models. While the 1–36  scale of reporting is not going to change, the ACT did state that it was going to release new “readiness indicators” in the areas of STEM, Career Readiness, English/Language Arts, and Text Complexity, the latter of which is designed to help students determine if they are on the path to understanding advanced texts.

In mid-October 2014, the ACT announced an “enhanced” Writing Test, which is slated to debut in fall 2015. The goal of the new Writing Test, which is still optional, is to move away from the simple persuasive essay currently required of students and shift towards a more broad rhetorical purpose that will ask students to evaluate multiple points of view on a complex topic and then generate an argument based on their classroom knowledge, observations, and experience.

In late May 2015, the ACT finalized these changes and released the format of the new score report. The new score report format reveals that—in addition to the standard 1–36 report for the sections—11 sub-scores will also be provided to reflect a host of measurements on various areas of student aptitude. These sub-scores will be based on a scale of 2–12.

The implication of the new scoring model is that it now provides admissions committees with “likelihood of success” scenarios. With the new data that the ACT will provide, an admissions officer could, theoretically, see the likelihood that a student will succeed in his or her college major and, at their discretion, admit or deny that student or recommend an alternate major upon matriculation.

As increasingly more data is collected from students by standardized test organizations, the importance of the exam increases in the college application process.