In what is probably a reaction to all the hoopla surrounding the College Board's 2016 SAT redesign, ACT revealed plans for 2015 test changes: a revised essay prompt that requires a different tack compared to the current essay, and several small changes to the Reading and Mathematics tests. Those changes will not be as radical a departure for the ACT as the new SAT is from the old. Namely:
- For the optional ACT essay, the prompt may require test takers to "evaluate multiple perspectives on a complex issue and generate their own analysis based on reasoning, knowledge, and experience." While it’s unclear at this time, the new essay may also include more minutes to complete. Stay tuned.
- Like its new SAT counterpart, the ACT essay will include sub-scores for:
- ideas and analysis
- development and support
- language use
- The Reading test will contain paired passages (Passage 1 compared and contrasted to Passage 2), similar to the SAT. We’ve seen this coming.
- Expect a barely discernible increase of emphasis on statistics and probability.
All these changes to the ACT will occur slowly. If a student takes the ACT on one or more of the six national test dates during the upcoming academic year, she will hardly notice a thing. Some say that the slow transformation of the ACT test will attract an ever-increasing number of students in light of the great unknowns surrounding the revamped SAT. We’ll see.
The State of Louisiana, among others, now uses the ACT as part of state assessment of high school students. It could be that the ACT changes are in line with such state-level assessments as Louisiana’s rather than with a specific need of the college admissions officer reviewing an application. The scoring grows more intense and complicated: ACT's new supplemental scores include STEM and Language Arts scores, and Career Readiness and Text Complexity indicators. Question categories draw their content from the much-discussed Common Core standards. While the traditional 1-36 composite scoring for the ACT will not change, a student will be treated to the new indicators.
When? ACT plans for these changes to take begin in about a year, or the fall 2015 and in 2016. Details are limited – and subject to change! We’ll keep you up to date.