Changes are coming to the ACT in 2015. The ACT is the leading college readiness assessment in the United States. The College Board, administrators of the SAT, the other major college readiness test, recently announced a major overhaul beginning in 2016. The ACT changes are less dramatic than the SAT’s, but no less significant. Below are some of the changes you can expect.
New supplemental scores will be added to give educators, parents and students more details about academic and skill levels. New indicators include:
STEM Score: The ACT is currently the only college readiness exam that measures science skills. This new score represents a student’s combined performance on the math and science sections of the test. The STEM indicator will outline strengths and perhaps indicate career paths that students may not have considered otherwise.
Progress Toward Career Readiness Indicator: This assessment is designed to measure progress toward career readiness, giving students and educators a guideline for success in a variety of career paths.
English Language Arts Score: This score combines English, reading and writing scores and enables students to view how their performance compares to other college-ready students.
Text Complexity Progress Indicator: This indicator measures student progress in understanding the complex text they will encounter as they go through college and professional life. The indicator is designed to help students plan study areas to improve text complexity skills before entering college.
Enhanced Writing Scores
Enhanced scores and a new approach to the optional Writing Test will offer insights and assessments that indicate where students excel and where more work is needed. Essays will be evaluated using four writing competency domains: development and support, organization, ideas and analysis and language use. Analytical ability and complex comprehension will be assessed.
Beginning in 2015, select schools will offer a computer-based ACT test that includes optional constructed-response questions. The computer-based program was successfully tested in April of 2014 and will likely become more widely available as time goes on.
Preparing for the ACT
Overall, the ACT test itself will change little. The new indicators and scores are designed as supplemental tools to help students, parents and teachers navigate a future course of study, deal with inconsistencies and open new career path considerations. According to Jon Erickson, ACT president of education and career solutions, “These research- and evidence-based enhancements are designed to keep our products relevant and helpful.” He continues, “They will be introduced gradually and thoughtfully, so our customers don’t experience radical changes.“