ACT changes starting next school year

Beginning with the September 2020 ACT test, students will be able to take separate sections on different test dates


Special to the Gazette// Shreya Holkatti

ACT changes are a hot topic on the GBHS campus.

Standardized tests play an exceedingly important role for students in the college acceptance process.

Both the American College Testing exam  and the Scholastic Assessment Test offer a way for students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills acquired over their four years of high school. 

As these standardized tests do pose many stresses and challenges to students, test companies are beginning to refine their test structures..

Beginning in September 2020, students taking the ACT will be granted the opportunity to retake individual test subjects, superscore their test results, and they can choose to take an online version of the test. 

The ACT made such changes to benefit the testing experience of students across the country.

The modification attracting the most attention from students is the section retesting.

“It allows students to hyper focus on certain areas,” said David Tastor, an ACT and SAT preparation workshop director and a Granite Bay High English teacher. 

This modification only applies to students who have previously completed a full-length ACT, however, and will allow them to focus on and retake a specific subject, including English, math, reading, science and writing. 

It seems more beneficial and less costly to be able to retake just one section at a time,

— Shreya Holikatti

Shreya Holikatti, a junior prepping for the February ACT test, said she appreciates the changes.

“It seems more beneficial and less costly to be able to retake just one section at a time,” Holikatti said.

The ACT and the SAT play a crucial role in the college acceptance process for many students.

The changes being made to the ACT could cause students to begin to favor the ACT over the SAT.

For example, junior Raha Elahi said  the ACT’s revisions might affect her standardized test preferences. 

“I think section retesting is so much more efficient than retaking the entire test,” Elahi said. “If I want to retake the SAT, I have to sacrifice half my day to take the test in addition to the multiple hours of studying (it takes to prepare) for all sections.”

The upcoming alterations to the ACT are expected to reduce student stress that often accompanies standardized tests.

In addition, some said they think the  SAT will begin to follow the actions of the ACT in order to satisfy the growing demands of students.

“I think the SAT will follow suit (in order to) make themselves valid,” Tastor said. 

Despite the benefits that are expected to result from the ACT modifications, there are some speculations about the effectiveness of these changes.

Holikatti described concerns she has about the changes that will affect future test takers.

“For me, the biggest concern is that (currently) the ACT and SAT are pretty much weighed the same by colleges,” Holikatti said. “But when the ACT starts doing section retakes, (the ACT) may lose some of its value and may not be viewed in the same way anymore.”

The changes being made to the ACT exemplify how test companies are beginning to accommodate for the needs of students as college entrance tests become more demanding and challenging.

“As a preparation provider,” said Tastor, “… I think (the changes) are a great thing for students to be able to have (the) opportunity  to showcase what they can do.”