ACT’s maker should pay reparations to students

Elias Podber, Sports Managing Editor

The officials at the American College Testing Inc., the maker of the ACT college entrance exam, announced that, starting in Sept. 2020, students taking the exam will have the option to retake individual sections, “superscore” their tests and also take the test online.

As college entry exams are slowly being phased out by colleges which have made them optional, test makers’ solution should not be to make the tests easier. That is not only unfair to the students who have taken the test in the past, but it also dilutes the credibility of the test. I’m highly confident that if I were able to retake single sections of the test, I would have achieved a higher score with less of a time commitment and hassle.

I took the ACT four times on four separate test dates to get the score I wanted. I had to re-study all the sections, impeding my ability to focus only on the section in which I needed the most improvement. I spent a total of 14 hours taking the ACT under official testing conditions, countless hours studying, and took an ACT preparation class for five weeks leading up to the Dec. 2018 test date.

When I heard the news that the ACT made an option for students to retake individual sections of the test, it made me miserable. With this new system, students will be able to study for one section per retake, which will make a high composite score much easier to obtain.

With students able to take the test online starting next September, official score reports will be able to be sent to test takers a mere two days after the test date. This particular aspect makes sense to me, but I fail to understand why this could not have been implemented earlier, as a major factor for me in deciding a test date was the amount of time it would take to receive the scores because of college application deadlines.

In a statement to the Washington Post, ACT Inc.’s chief commercial officer Suzana Delanghe said the goal of the policy change was to save students time and money.

The ACT’s  addition of a “superscore” gives  a student a composite score that compiles the best individual section scores from all their tests taken. In the past, students who applied to colleges that accepted “superscores” had to individually send every test from which they were pulling a section score to that college. Sending one score to one college costs $13.00, and with self superscoring, the cost added up. With the ACT’s new policy, the company will make an official superscore for you that you can send to colleges at a price ACT Inc. has not yet revealed. This not only makes it easier, but it also saves college-bound students money.

Although some of this change is positive, ACT Inc. has not released any information regarding a refund or any aid to students who spent hundreds of dollars in years past to self superscore. The ACT Inc. is responsible for the damage it inflicted on students through time spent and money wasted before it changed its policy.

A solution to this would be to make the ACT superscoring available as soon as possible so current college applicants could get back even a small portion of the money and time that they deserve just as much as the future classes of test-takers.

The ACT’s new policies not only dilute the test’s credibility and make it far too easy, but also act as a punch in the gut for the millions of students who have taken and suffered through the test leading up to this point. College entry exams should not give unfair advantages with no paid reprimands to students simply because of circumstances out of their control.