New ACT Will Assess Test-Takers for 'Job Readiness'

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ACT, Inc., which publishes the SAT-alternative exam, will tweak the test in 2015 to offer a more detailed analysis of how college hopefuls perform. 

Inside Higher Ed reports that the test itself won't look all that different — students could see a slight change in the math section, will be asked more challenging reading comprehension questions, and those who choose to write an essay will see a more difficult prompt, but that section will remain optional. 

The real changes will be in the way ACT will report students' achievements on the test. Though the exams will still be graded on a 1-36 point scale and the mandatory categories (English, math, science and reading) will remain, students and schools will receive more feedback on how they did. Their science and math scores will be combined for a composite science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) score; reading and writing will be combined for an English Language score; and essays will receive more detailed responses — like how the students scored in terms of analysis, organization, language and development.

Students will also receive a "text complexity progress indicator," and an overall "progress toward career readiness" score, which will show if they display knowledge in areas that could be applied to the workplace. 

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ACT President Jon L. Erickson said of the new exam, “we are constantly seeking ways to bring new and innovative features to our customers." He added, "having more information helps everyone. The ultimate goal is to personalize [these scores] so that your information is uniquely tailored to you and your situation."

The College Board, which publishes the SAT, also recently announced that it is overhauling its testing format, in 2016. The changes to the SAT will be more substantial, including a return to the 1,600 point scale by making the writing section optional. (It became mandatory in 2005, making the top possible score 2400) It is also removing penalties given for incorrect answers. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.