WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Students taking the ACT this upcoming fall will see changes to the exam.
The standardized test is used for college admissions.
The three changes come down to having a super score, retaking individual sections, and an online option.
According to the ACT a "super score" is when someone averages their four best individual scores from all ACT attempts to create a new score.
Educational Resource Associates Director Judy Hintz said colleges from around the country have been allowing super scoring to happen for the last few years.
“I think the kids will be happier. I think they are going to be more relaxed, but I think it can be very misleading that these kids have a college readiness level. They don’t. It’s just manipulating the test scores,” Hintz said.
Hintz said the new changes may help students get in to their "dream school" but that doesn’t mean they are ready.
The second change coming to students in the fall is allowing them to retake individual sections of the standardized test. There are four sections: math, English, reading, and science. In the past, if a student did not like their individual scores on a subject they had to retake the whole exam.
In addition to the four subjects, there is an optional fifth writing section that is an extra cost to the overall exam.
The ACT has not yet released how much an individual subject re-take will cost.
The third change will be allowing students to take the exam online. Having that option will give students the option to receive their composite score after just two days.
“I am hoping that parents and students realize the difference between online preparation and using a book. Research studies show that you get much greater comprehension and ability to analyze complexities when you have a textbook,” Hintz said.
ACT Chief Commercial Officer Suzana Delanghe said in a statement, “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. 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.”
Hintz said students looking to improve their score should learn the vocabulary on the ACT.
“We teach our kids to speed read because you have to have a reading speed of about 450 words a minute to complete that test,” Hintz said.
In 2018, the average ACT composite score for an Iowan was 21.8. The national average was 20.8.
Changes to the ACT will begin in September 2020.