ACT unveils new testing options

Nate Goodwin-Kelly, Opinion Editor

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For high school students, there are two major standardized tests that colleges accept, the SAT and ACT. Loy Norrix requires students to take the SAT, but for those who want a different test option, the ACT is set up differently than the SAT. 

The current ACT test format is blocked into four sections: English, Math, Reading, Science, and an optional writing portion. The English section is forty-five minutes, the math section an hour, and both science and reading thirty-five minutes. For students who may be quicker readers and less math oriented, this test can serve as a better alternative. Last week, the ACT  announced they will make changes to the test starting in September 2020. 

One of the main changes to the ACT is the ability for people to retake certain subjects by themselves without taking the entire test. This allows students to minimize the amount of time at the test center while focusing on their individual weaknesses. Essentially, students can choose to go to the test center, take one section, and be scored for only that section. In the past, test takers had to retake the entire test if they wanted to work on a particular subject. 

Loy Norrix senior Lily Dorstewitz took the ACT in September. Dorstewitz likes the new format. “This way I could focus more on my math, without having to worry about the other sections,” said Dorstewitz.

This change will also emphasize the “Superscore,” where colleges choose to analyze each individual subsection rather than the composite. Currently, colleges have a choice of whether or not they superscore tests. University of Michigan doesn’t use superscores, whereas other elite schools such as the California Institute of Technology, do superscore. 

Another change to the ACT is the ability to take the test online to ensure faster results. In the past, test results often took anywhere from ten days to five weeks to get back. With the online test, students will receive results within forty-eight hours, a drastic change that allows students to analyze their results and next plan of action sooner

Dorstewitz believes this change will be helpful.  “Faster scores will help seniors especially, early action deadlines come up fast and quicker score feedback will help people plan their course of action,” Dorstewitz said.

While many students have embraced the new changes, critics are concerned about how the test will impact students from lower socio-economic backgrounds who lack the money to retake the ACT numerous times.