ACT Update – November 2014

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English, Math, Reading, Science, Writing (optional).  Curriculum-based.  University-ready test. (« Core curriculum » –  4 years Eng, 3 years of Maths, 3 years nat sci and 3 years social sciences)

English section  – punctuation, grammar, rhetorical skills, not spelling, not vocabulary or grammar rules.  75 questions in 45 minutes.

Math section  – 60 questions, 60 minutes – algebra, geometry, plane geometry, trigonometry – the latter being the differentiating questions.

Reading section – 40 questions, 35 minutes.

Science section – not curriculum based   reasoning skills.  Biology, Earth Sciences, Chemistry, Physics.  Prior knowledge of science not required, though if you have a good science background you’ll feel more comfortable. 40 questions, 35 minutes.

Writing – optional.  1 prompt, 30 minutes.  Issue – 2 points of view – student must write about their view on that issue.

Difference between SAT and ACT?

ACT – knowledge-based, SAT skills based. (reasoning).  ACT has science, SAT doesn’t.  ACT – maths goes to trigonometry, SAT to geometry.  ACT – writing optional.  SAT – writing obligatory.

Test dates – Sept, Oct, Dec, Apr, June.

Future developments – 

  • Still 1-36 score range
  • Beginning Nov 2015 – STEM score, Eng score, Career readiness and Text complexity scores.
  • Enhanced writing test – 4 domains (currently holistic)
  • Computer-based delivery

Stem score – overall performance on the science and Math sections.  Reporting change only.  Predicts future performance on the ACT national Career Readiness Certificate.  Eng-Lang Arts Score – combines Eng, Reading and Writing sections.  Reporting change only.

Enhanced writing test – ideas, development, organisation, language use.   3 perspectives given in separate boxes and the student must respond to these. (Looks complicated!)  Current version gives 2 perspectives, enhanced has 3 perspectives.  State and develop your own perspective.  Not huge changes!

Computer-based delivery – starts this coming April 2015 in US.  Paper-pencil will remain option for a certain amount of time.

Other education programs – ACT Aspire. See