Learning from June Testing
This past weekend, we held our June ACT test. It was by no means a “normal” test experience for students or test center staff. Not all test centers were open, and those that were, underwent extra precautionary steps to social distance and adhere to CDC guidelines. All things considered, a large number of students were still able to safely test in 45 states across the US.
With the June 13 test behind us, we are experienced in testing in a socially distanced environment. We’re learning from the challenges this environment creates and listening to customer feedback to improve our process for communicating updates.
Watch the video below from ACT CEO Janet Godwin to learn how we followed CDC guidelines for a safe testing experience and how we will continue to offer safe opportunities to test as we build capacity for our July 18 national test date.
Our Commitment to July and Fall 2020 Testing
We remain committed to delivering students safe opportunities to test and will continue forward with our plans to administer a July 18 test administration. Testing will only take place in test sites deemed safe, and in accordance with CDC and local government essential business guidelines.
As more states and communities begin to “open up” in the coming weeks, we anticipate, and are preparing for, greater testing capacity for July 18 testing. We are working with state-level officials, as well as test centers around the globe, and have asked them to provide an open/closed status update to ACT by June 24th. Students registered for the July test date can expect an update on their test center status by the end of June.
Many things can happen between now and the July 18 test date and ACT is committed to actively communicating with students registered for the test on the status of their center through email and on our website.
For fall 2020 testing, we are exploring options to expand our test center network and evaluating opportunities to add additional test dates to provide as many safe options for testing as possible.
Postponing Section Retesting to Increase Capacity for Full Testing
ACT test registration for fall 2020 and spring 2021 test dates will open at the end of July.
Our priority is to expand access to full ACT testing, particularly for students in need of a composite score for admissions decisions, scholarship opportunities, placement, and career insights. In order to do this, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the rollout of section retesting, the option to take one section of the ACT® test at a time.
“Postponing the availability of section retesting for upcoming national ACT test dates will enable us to increase testing capacity for those who need to take the full ACT test,” said ACT CEO Janet Godwin. “Our priority is to provide seats for those students most impacted by COVID-19-related capacity limitations who still need a composite score. This decision will also ease the burden on higher education professionals who are navigating their own unique challenges in response to the pandemic.”
ACT remains committed to offering superscoring and online testing options at selected national test centers this fall. We will also provide an increased number of fee waivers and additional score reports to students from underserved backgrounds. In late fall/early winter, we plan to offer a remote proctoring solution, allowing students to take the test online, at home or at other safe and convenient locations. These options will improve students’ test-taking experience and increase their opportunities for college admissions and scholarships, while setting the stage for the future release of section retesting.
More on each of these options for September 2020 Testing & Beyond:
- Online testing with faster score results: Students will, for the first time, have the option of online or paper testing on national test days at ACT test centers (selected test centers initially, eventually expanding to all). The test is currently administered only on paper on national test dates. Online testing offers faster results compared to traditional paper-based administration—as early as two business days, compared to around two weeks. This faster turnaround time will benefit rising seniors in particular, as they prepare to meet application deadlines.
- ACT superscoring: ACT will report a superscore for students who have taken the ACT test more than once, giving 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. ACT research suggests that superscores are just as predictive—if not slightly more predictive—of first-year grades compared to other scoring methods.
- ACT fee waivers: ACT will offer four fee waivers to qualifying students (double the number previously offered) and an unlimited number of free score reports will be available for students who have taken the ACT with a fee waiver so they may send their superscore or scores from any individual test, even those taken previously during the ACT national test and state and district tests.
- Remote proctoring solution: In addition to these new options, ACT plans to roll out a remote proctoring solution on a limited basis in late fall/early winter. While more information will be released at a later date, ACT is working with a trusted, reliable partner to deliver this capability in safe and secure environments beyond students’ homes.
Remote proctoring has been around for decades and is widely used by both public and private sector organizations, including hundreds of colleges and universities around the country. Proctored assessments have run the gamut from basic history quizzes to exams that credential doctors. Today’s proctoring technology ensures that the test-taker experiences the convenience of taking an exam remotely, without sacrificing any privacy.
At this time, ACT is planning for section retesting to be available later in 2021 but will continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on test center capacity to prioritize safe and equitable access to testing.