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More changes to the ACT announced


Friday, June 06, 2014

In the past several months both the ACT and the SAT, the two major college admissions tests, have announced major changes to the format, scoring and delivery of the tests. The ACT recently announced another wave of changes designed to help students improve their skills and become better college applicants. 

ACT offers more scores
Beginning in 2015, ACT test results will include both the students' scores and a list of indicators, which are intended to shed light on the intricacies of the test scores. These figures will provide a more focused and specific look at students' skill levels, acting as a measurement of current knowledge and predictor of future success.

Areas such as STEM, career readiness, English language arts and text complexity will be monitored. For example, the STEM score will be representative of science and math scores, while the English language arts score is a compilation of reading and writing portions.

"We are constantly seeking ways to bring new and innovative features to our customers," said Jon Erickson, ACT president of education and career solutions, in a statement. "Our goal is to continuously improve. These research- and evidence-based enhancements are designed to keep our products relevant and helpful. They will be introduced gradually and thoughtfully, so our customers don't experience radical changes."

Another aspect of the changes involves enhancements to the writing portion of the test. Essays will now be judged based on four separate writing components: ideas and analysis, development and support, organization and language use.

What students can expect
All in all, students will not have to brace themselves for major change. The test itself will remain the same, but students will receive individualized enhanced results. This could be especially helpful for students who look to raise their scores by focusing on improving specific skills before taking the test a second time.

"Adding dimension to the ACT score adds context without changing content – both of which are great for students," said Christine Brown, the executive director of college admissions and K12 programs for Kaplan Test Prep. "The test isn't really changing, which is a good thing for students who are looking for a familiar test. By the same token, the new scores will help students better relate their ACT performance to real-world potential." 

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