Changes to ACT testing gives students a chance to boost scores

Linnea Shively, staff writer

As school starts up again, a new class of students begin the college application process, which for many includes standardized testing. Starting in the 2020 school year, the ACT will allow students to retake individual sections instead of the full length test. For those who will be applying to colleges next year, it is a welcomed change.

According to ACT, after students have taken the full length test once, they are able to retake certain sections for an additional fee. In doing so, ACT hopes to help students demonstrate their skills without the pressure of a full length testing day. Additionally, students will be able to cherry pick their top scores from each section and submit that average as a “superscore.” 

Previous to the changes, many colleges already accepted “superscores,” according to tutoring service Score At The Top. Because of this, Karla Mettling, a Behavioral Health Clinician for Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, explains strategies she sees current students use to boost their score; some students retook the entire ACT to gain a higher score on one section, only to bubble in random answers on sections they did not need to improve on. This waste of time and money to only gain a higher score in one section will be avoided with the new testing procedures.

The changes to the ACT also include the option of virtual testing from a national testing center. With online testing, students receive scores within two days of testing, compared to weeks with the traditional paper tests. For those on a time crunch in the application process, online testing will allow them to make more informed decisions about scores.

These changes are long-overdue and give students another chance to raise their scores and improve their college application. By offering retests only on sections, students save time and may be more inclined to test again. By simplifying ACT testing, students are able to spend time on other aspects of applications, such as essays. 

After all, the practice of using standardized testing to gauge academic ability is outdated and in some cases, inaccurate. These new changes to the ACT will allow students of all abilities to present a better score which represents and rewards their hard work.