In most of the United States, the ACT is administered seven times. In New York, however, the ACT is only administered six times. Historically, this has meant that no test centers have been scheduled in New York for the July national test date, July of 2020 proved an exception to that otherwise ironclad rule, but, then again, a summer test date when most schools were still shut down by the pandemic was hardly the biggest surprise of the year.
Why does the Empire State stand alone without a July ACT? Blame the Truth-in-Testing Law:
The “truth in testing” law, known formally as the Admissions Testing Law, was adopted by the State Legislature in 1979 after lobbying by consumer, civil-rights and other groups. The law, which took effect in January 1980, requires sponsors and manufacturers of college admissions examinations to offer test takers the right, at the time scores are reported, to obtain copies of the test along with their answer sheet and a key to the correct responses.
The legislation was vigorously fought by the testing industry, which argued that the measure would increase the cost of test development because questions that were disclosed could not be reused. It also warned that the need to develop many more questions could threaten test quality.
While the intent of the law was to mandate the disclosure of all questions and answers of standardized admissions tests administered in New York, the current arrangement appears to require disclosure of half of a given year’s tests. Thus, because we have three Test Information Release dates for the ACT, New York gets six national test date administrations. That means February, formerly unavailable from Buffalo to the Bronx, is in play for New York, but July is not.
Is the mid-July ACT test date such a great loss? Honestly, not really. Some New York state high schools may let out in early June, but most of our schools run almost to the end of the month. In my experience, weary students–and their equally exhausted parents–don’t even want to discuss studying, let alone testing, until after Independence Day. Those eager to take the July ACT can register in any of forty-nine other states. Everyone else can prep over the summer (always a smart play) for the August SAT and September ACT.
Interestingly, even though College Board also offers only three Question-and-Answer Service dates for the SAT, New York actually permits seven national test date administrations. Somehow, College Board always seems one step ahead of their Iowa City rivals…