Tag Archives: test scores

The American public has been anxiously unpacking the implications of the announcement by ACT that that average ACT scores for the high school class of 2022 declined to lowest level in more than 30 years. I recently shared deeper analysis and context for the announcement on this site, but those who enjoyed video to text will enjoy the brief segment on the topic I contributed to on WROC News 8. What conclusions do you draw from declining test scores?

ACT, Inc., the eponymous organization that administers the ACT exam just shared some bleak but terribly unsurprising findings: The national average ACT Composite score for the high school class of 2022 was 19.8, the lowest average score in more than three decades, according to data released today by ACT, the nonprofit organization that administers the college readiness exam. It is the first time since 1991 that the average ACT Composite score was below 20.0. Why doesn’t this admittedly disturbing information come as a shock? Obviously, the learning gap during the global pandemic will continue to manifest for years to come in the form of lower academic achievement. But college readiness has been declining for much longer, as our unacceptable 62.2% national six-year college completion rate shows. Janet Godwin, CEO of ACT, agrees: “This is the fifth consecutive year of declines in average scores, a worrisome trend that began long before…

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While nothing in the 21st century college application process approaches conventional levels of transparency, the rise of test optional admissions has added a whole new level of ambiguity and opacity to an already stressful process. Nothing has changed, of course, when applying to colleges that are open-admit or select the majority of applicants. The real drama occurs at the selective and highly selective schools. Not only is a smaller percentage of applicants than ever selected at some of these schools–lower than 4% at certain institutions–but the blurring of qualifications has added entirely new levels of confusion, even for experts. Colleges universally adopted test optional admissions policies during the pandemic, in part because a handful of national SAT and ACT test dates and a flood of local test center administrations were cancelled. Test optional admissions also served to lower anxiety during a time when both applicants and the schools themselves were…

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Summer break is already about halfway over, and for a lot of high school students, that means the pressure is already back on. You’ve got summer reading to do, math practice to finish, tutoring sessions and extracurriculars to sign up for before they’re full. It’s all overwhelming enough without knowing that colleges are getting pickier every year. If you’re aiming for a top school, you’ve probably gotten the impression that you need a schedule full of AP classes, a 4.2 GPA and flawless SAT and ACT scores to stand a snowball’s chance, and in some ways, you’d be right. Ivy League universities and other schools of that caliber can afford to expect perfection, and some students thrive when they’re striving for that perfection. That’s all well and good–our society needs its academic juggernauts. But not everybody is built for that kind of rigor, and if you’re not, it can be…

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No matter what how the current SAT or ACT is scored, its score scale is arbitrary. Understanding the difference between a 200-800 SAT score and a 1-36 ACT score can drive a person crazy. That’s why percentiles matter so much. Every SAT and ACT section score is based off a raw score which is then converted to a scaled score based on a larger testing cohort. Any score report will include both scaled scores and percentile ranks. And, really, the only way to understand the value of the former is to consider the latter. For any given score, your percentile or percentile rank describes what percentage of the testing population you scored higher than. For example, a score in the 70th percentile is higher than 70% of all the scores for that population. When it comes to test scores, the higher the percentile, the better you are doing! Students prepping…

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When test scores come back, making sense of it all can be overwhelming. Composite scores, section scores, percentiles—it’s a lot to decipher, and people taking the SAT or ACT for the first time are often surprised by subscores. These tests are broken down into sections, but the sections break down even further into different types of questions. Subscores measure how well you did on each of these types, and they show up on score reports in a couple of different ways: for the SAT, they’re listed at the bottom of the first page, and for the ACT (which calls them Reporting Categories), they’re listed under Detailed Results. The SAT measures seven different subscores: Command of Evidence Words in Context Expression of Ideas Standard English Conventions Heart of Algebra Problem Solving and Data Analysis Passport to Advanced Math On the ACT, each section measures three Reporting Categories. In English: Production of…

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