Changes coming for ACT college admission test

By John Cavazos , Francine Frazier - Senior web editor
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Beginning next year, students taking the ACT college admission test will see some changes in how the results are reported.

The scores, on a scale of 1 to 36, won't change, but the ACT will start reporting scores in English language arts and combined science and math scores.

It will also report a "career readiness indicator," meant to show performance on certain skills employers deem important.

The changes, announced Friday, come on the heels of a similar announcement from the College Board, which oversees the SAT. That test will change in 2016 to closely follow common core standards.

"I think what they're doing is reaction maybe less to what the College Board has done (with the SAT) and more to what's happening in the market," said Christine Brown, executive director of K-12 and college prep programs at Kaplan Test Prep. "You're seeing the common core state standards taking hold in various places, and you're just seeing curriculum continue to evolve. I think this is a reaction to that as much as anything else."

Brown said the new scoring will give colleges a clearer perspective on how students performed on the test.

"When test makers change the tests we like to focus on what that means for students," Brown said. "I think this can be viewed as a really positive change that actually gives students a little bit more insight and control into what can be a pretty stressful college admissions process."

The ACT will also be offered in a digital format starting next year. But students will still have the option to take the paper and pencil version.

Several states that require students to take the ACT in 11th grade also will have the option to expand the test, adding questions that require written "constructed responses."

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