Last Updated On: April 12th, 2021
NOTE: This post was written prior to ACT’s release of updated superscoring information. Read our new blog ACT Superscoring Is Here: What you need to know for more information.
In 2020, ACT released information about upcoming features that were planned to roll out in 2021 (including online testing, superscoring, and individual section retesting). Now that 2021 has rolled around, ACT has decided to push most of these announced changes down the road. Read on for more information.
Below is key information from ACT’s 2020-2021 Update release:
- Although many schools have changed their admissions policies in 2020 to be either test optional or test blind, ACT believes that “students will continue to opt in to testing for years to come.”
- Remote proctoring (otherwise known as at-home online testing) will not be rolled out for the 2020-2021 school year.
- Other promised ACT enhancements (including superscoring and individual section retesting) are also delayed.
- ACT will continue to send automated emails to students who are impacted by test closures due to COVID-19.
ACT’s CEO Janet Godwin has shared that remote proctoring is still in the works, but they need more time to research and develop this program. Godwin also noted that ACT’s remote proctoring program will need the confidence of colleges and universities in order to be accepted for applicants, which may further delay the rollout considering each college and university have differing metrics of security for test-takers. While at-home online testing isn’t a current option, it likely will be in the future.
As for test enhancements like superscoring and section retesting, these elements are also delayed. While an exact timeline isn’t discussed in their ACT Research: Class of 2021 Students release, they do indicate more research needs to be done on both fronts. ACT acknowledges that both of these enhancements would work together to lessen test anxiety and improve general test performance.
If and when ACT does roll out these options, it will be a game-changer for students. As we mentioned in our 2020 blog covering these originally released changes, if students are allowed to retake just one section they won’t have to worry about jeopardizing a high score to make up for a lower score in another. Superscoring could also result in a higher composite score, provided the schools to which students are applying factor the scores the same way. Remote proctoring could also open the range of test dates that students could sign up for, increasing the potential testing window and prep timeline.
Considering ACT originally stated these changes were coming in 2021 and has since pushed these down the line, let’s consider the downsides to these features. For one, while allowing retakes for a single section will tend to result in higher superscores, these scores will be higher for students across the board. As a result, the average test scores for the most competitive schools will likely get even higher. As for superscoring, some schools might not factor this into their admissions criteria. Certain schools, such as the Cal States, already superscore on their own, while other schools might choose not to. As for remote proctoring (as we’ve seen with other at-home online tests), the at-home testing experience for students is not universal and opens the door to major tech glitches and security issues.
So what should you do in the meantime as ACT sorts out these details internally? If you’re planning to test in 2021 or later, here are some general steps to take:
- Register early. Plan ahead so you get your preferred date and location. To view dates, check out our ACT & SAT 2020-2021 Test Dates page.
- Find out your prospective schools’ testing policies. Some schools were test optional or test blind for 2020 applicants only whereas some have committed to an alternate testing policy long-term. Find out ahead of time what each admissions policy is and adjust your plans accordingly.
- Practice practice practice! You can try your hand at a practice test by purchasing an ACT book, printing a test from Crack ACT, or taking a proctored diagnostic test with LA Tutors. Once you begin taking practice tests at home, use our proctored videos to help track time and pace yourself! They’re free and accessible here: LA Tutors Proctored Videos
Our final piece of advice is to set a goal for yourself and stick with it. In order to achieve your personal best, check out our How to Determine Your Target SAT/ACT Score blog. Best of luck prepping!