Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

ACT to broaden score reporting on popular college admissions exam

WASHINGTON - The popular ACT college admissions exam is broadening how it reports students' scores.

The exam's traditional 36-point scale remains unchanged. But, starting next year, students will also receive an ACT score on two new "readiness indicators" reflecting how they did in terms of career readiness and understanding complex text, the non-profit testing organization announced Friday.

A new category will offer students a separate score on STEM performance — short for science, technology, engineering and math — that combines the science and math portions. A second new category in the area of language arts combines how they did on the English, reading and writing portions — for those who took the writing portion.

The writing portion remains optional for traditional Saturday morning test takers, but the ACT said the writing section is also being modified to make the essay topics more advanced and to require test takers to potentially provide multiple perspectives on a topic, instead of just one view.

The announcement comes three months after the College Board, which operates the competing SAT, announced sweeping changes to that exam that include moving the perfect score back to 1,600, making the essay optional and shifting the vocabulary away from some high-sounding words in favour of those more likely to be used in school or on the job. The changes are expected in 2016.

ACT officials said their changes are much more subtle and not in response to the College Board's announcement. They said the ACT changes are well-researched and have been years in the making.

"We're continuing to polish it, but not rebuild it," Jon Erickson, president of ACT, based in Iowa City, Iowa, said in an interview.

Erickson said he's hopeful that when students get the results and are able to interpret them, "it will be enlightening and, dare I may say, exciting."

The ACT was taken last year by 1.8 million students and overtook the SAT in popularity in 2012. That's in part because of growth in the number of states funding and requiring high school juniors to take the exam during the school day. Four new states — Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi and Wisconsin — recently signed on to do so, bringing to 17 states participating at this level, according to ACT.

Last spring, the ACT said it would begin offering online testing and started piloting it this year.

Also on Friday, the ACT said it would begin making new open-ended questions available to districts in the subject areas of reading, math and science to offer to students as part of the school-day program. Unlike questions with fill-in-the-bubble responses, open-ended questions call for what the ACT describes as a "constructed response" by the student.

And it said it is working to develop language for 2016 that would explain what ACT scores mean as they relate to the Common Core standards being rolled out in most states. The Common Core standards spell out what math and language skills students should master at each grade level.

The ACT said that on June 14, a Saturday, just under 600,000 students are scheduled to take the exam — a record high.


Follow Kimberly Hefling on Twitter:



  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.


Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media