How Will ACT Scores Change in 2015?

Beginning in the fall of 2015 (with additional modifications slated for 2016), test-takers who opt to sit for the ACT will receive a score report with several key changes. The creators of the ACT ultimately hope to offer more robust scores, with additional assessment categories and data that will help colleges and students better determine whether they are ideal matches for each other (as well as whether students, more generally, are prepared for higher education). Here is some great information on how you can improve your ACT score.

Here are some ways ACT scores will change in 2015:

ACT scores will include a STEM score

The revised ACT will provide institutions and students with a STEM score, which will measure an individual’s performance on the math and science sections of the exam. The inclusion of this score is consistent with many educators’ goals to better promote STEM learning (or education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Students who are strong in STEM fields may ultimately benefit from increased economic opportunities. 

ACT scores will include an English language score

Students will also receive an English language score that consists of their English, reading, and writing results. In combination with the STEM result, the English language score will better reflect a student’s ability to enter the workforce (“progress toward career readiness”), as well as his or her faculty in reading comprehension. The text complexity indicator determines how well a student understands college-level reading materials. These are some great ACT English tips you may find helpful in your studies.

ACT scores will speak to more immediate needs

Overall, these changes are intended to make ACT scores more detailed and relevant to today’s world, without modifying the entire reporting system. The ACT will retain its four core portions (English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science), each of which will still be assessed on a 1-36 scale. The composite mark, which averages the four sections, will also continue to utilize the 1-36 scale. 

The ACT will update its Writing test

Additionally, the ACT creators will release an updated version of the optional essay, which will involve additional scores for four sub-sections: Ideas and Analysis, Development and Support, Organization, and Language Use, as well as the essay's one overall score. Currently, the ACT essay describes an issue and supplies two separate points of view. It then challenges students to state which point of view they believe is correct (or to provide their own point of view). Students must support their opinion with specifics. Students are allotted 30 minutes to complete their essay, which is scored from 2 to 12. Topics can be very diverse, but one example is whether high school curriculum should be extended to a period of five years. Students argue for or against this concept. Here is some great information you will want to read if you are on the fence about whether or not you should take the ACT Plus writing.

The ACT has not yet revealed specific alterations to the Writing portion, but the essay will prompt students to “evaluate multiple perspectives on a complex issue and generate their own analysis based on reasoning, knowledge and experience,” according to an official ACT statement. Whether the ACT will continue to allow students 30 minutes to write their response—or extend or shorten this time—is not yet clear. 

It is important for students to understand and process the ways ACT scores will change in 2015 in order to have a firm grasp on how they will be tested. Working with ACT practice tests is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the content. In order to maximize success on the exam, prepare accordingly!

[RELATED: What is an Average ACT Score?]