Changes come to the College Board and the ACT

The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the American College Testing (ACT), both key aspects of a high school student’s college application process, are now undergoing some significant changes.
The College Board, a non-profit organization, which controls all aspects of the SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) exams, are altering how colleges view both exam scores.
For several years, the College Board has been testing out a new adversity index scale, which is now being used by around 50 colleges and universities. It’s designed to not only provide colleges with a student’s AP or SAT exam score, but also to provide adequate context for an applicant’s own socioeconomic advantages or disadvantages that they face. This adversity index will be made available to all colleges by 2020.
Once a student decides to send their test scores to a college, the college’s admissions officers will be able to access data regarding said applicant’s local neighborhood and their high school, giving colleges another crucial viewpoint of an applicant’s college application. This new adversity index is primarily designed to help colleges gauge the effects that an applicant’s environmental surroundings have on their test scores.
The actual adversity index is out of 100 points, with a higher score indicating a more socioeconomically disadvantaged applicant and vice-versa. The listed adversity index score for an applicant is actually the average of several various categories.
“I think that the intention behind [the adversity index] is good in the sense that especially for those [disadvantaged] students that fall into those categories that it would shed light into those colleges that they’re applying to,” College and Career Center Advisor Lupita Yanez said. “I definitely think that it’s a good positive item that comes out of [the adversity index].”
However, the adversity index is not the only major change to come high school students’ way. The ACT is also currently undergoing some major structural development.
The ACT is composed of four major sections: English, math, reading and science. Usually, if an applicant were to receive high marks on English, reading and science, but receive a poor score on math, they would then have to pay to retake the entire exam if they wished to try and receive a better grade on just the math portion.
Starting in 2020, ACT exam takers can choose to retake a specific section. Helping save time and money, but not necessarily relieving student stress.
“In my opinion, the ACT super score does relieve some of the stress but I think that the ACT is only doing this for money reasons because these institutions only really care about how much money they get,” junior Aishik Bhattacharyya said.
Alongside being able to retake individual sections, exam takers will be able to choose whether or not to take the ACT on paper or online. This new online option will become available on the September 2020 exam date. Providing exam takers with the added benefit of receiving their scores within two days of taking the ACT instead of having to wait weeks.
However, according to Newsweek, a record number of colleges across the country are dropping the ACT and SAT test submission requirement.
“Recently, lots of colleges have been getting rid of the standardized testing options, making it optional,” Bhattacharyya said. “I think that’s a good step [for] the future.”
Whether or not one decides to take the SAT, ACT or AP exams, make sure to review all possible options going forward in the future!