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ACT administers test in a digital format


Thursday, May 01, 2014

The College Board made waves when it announced a host of upcoming changes to the SAT, including the shift to a computer-based format. While those adjustments won't be implemented until 2016, students who will take the ACT as part of their college testing should get ready for a digital version of that test as well.

Digital formats make it easier for students
The ACT announced in May 2013 that it would be switching up the options for students. In the near future, students will be able take the ACT on a computer, tablet or similar device. This format allows students to receive their final scores just minutes after the exam is completed, in addition to speeding up the test-taking and essay-writing process for some high schoolers.

According to USA Today, the change comes as high school classrooms across the country are placing more of an emphasis on digital literacy. While the majority of students are familiar with computers and similar mobile devices, the Common Core State Standards are calling for the integration of these tools into classroom curricula. By creating a digital test, ACT is keeping with its mission of being a curriculum-based assessment.

"We're adding this new way of taking the ACT to help improve student engagement and broaden college access," said Jon Erickson, president of education and career solutions at ACT, in a release. "We want to meet young people in the world where they already live. We are working to continuously improve the ACT, and we'll have more innovations to announce in the months ahead. The exam, of course, will remain a curriculum-based achievement exam that measures what students learn in school, as it has always been."

Early testing works through glitches
Widespread implementation of the digital test will be instituted between the spring of 2015 and 2016. On April 14 of this year, about 4,000 students tested on the digital program. Although there were some technical glitches, the early reports are positive.

ACT recognizes that some students may not be comfortable with the computerized version, and will still offer the pencil-and-paper exam even after the digital format has been fully implemented.

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