New ACT changes to be implemented September 2020

Gracia Hmelar and Kaahini Jain

The ACT college entrance exam nonprofit will allow students to retake individual sections of the test online on national testing days beginning September 2020, the organization announced in a press release on Oct. 8. 

Students will also have the choice of taking the entire test online instead of on paper to receive faster score reports. 

Along with the final score, ACT will also report a superscore for students who have taken the test more than once. Superscore takes the average of the best scores from each of a student’s sittings, increasing the overall composite score.

“[This gives] colleges the option to use the student’s best scores from all test administrations, rather than scores from just one sitting, in their admission and scholarship decisions,” the ACT press release stated. “New ACT research suggests that superscoring is actually more predictive of how students will perform in their college courses than other scoring methods.” 

Online testing for the ACT is already in use by some testing centers in the United States as well as all international testing centers. 

According to Paly college counselor, Sandra Cernobori, this change may widen the gap between low-income applicants and others because there will likely be additional costs for some of these new implementations.

Senior Claire Li said she thinks due to more flexibility for students to improve a certain section score, it will cause a drop in enrollment in other test organizations’ exams. 

“I think it’ll be a lot easier to get a good score on the ACT, so not many people will have a reason to take the SAT anymore,” Li said. “Obviously [superscoring] makes it easier to get a good score, so I think colleges will end up regulating the scores in their own way.”

Regarding the fairness of the change, Li said she believes it is a fair change that shouldn’t affect students who are currently applying to schools. 

“I think it’s fair for college applicants this year however because it takes effect in September 2020 so most people who already took it will have applied to college already,” Li said. 

According to Cernobori, it is unclear as yet if Paly or other local schools will be administering the online test.