Yesterday, ACT notified us about testing changes taking effect this coming September that will impact many of our students —perhaps making some consider taking the June or July test. There are two significant changes.
The end of self-paced timing for students with the extended-time accommodation
Through this summer, students can apportion the extra time among the four sections as needed. Under the new policy, students will have 50% extra time per section, with a hard stop at the end of each section — just like the SAT.
Here is the official announcement:
ACT National Extended Time and ACT Special Testing Timing Code 6
We believe this new policy is a major setback for students with an extended timing accommodation. Allowing students to advance to the next section at their own speed has always been a significant benefit to students with ADHD and those who need additional time on only certain sections. The current policy allows students to complete the ACT at their own speed without having to wait to move on to the next section. Beginning in September, under the new policy, students who finish a particular section in less than the allotted time will have what amounts to a required waiting period before starting the next section.
The addition of a mandatory experimental section
Starting in September, the ACT will require all students who take the test with standard timing to take a 20-minute experimental section that will not count towards their score. Here is the official announcement:
ACT National Testing Tryout Program
Not great news for students! While this change allows ACT to test and validate questions for future tests, it will have no benefit for test-takers. ACT won’t be able to fool students with this extra section, because they’ll all know it doesn’t count. In fact, some students may blow it off or simply not answer any questions. And we don’t blame them at all. After all, why should any student invest time or energy in helping ACT conduct research if it doesn’t impact their scores?
Moral of the story: If you’re approved for extended time on the ACT, consider taking the test in June or July, taking advantage of the current rules.