Beginning with September 2020, ACT will be allowing students to sit for individual sections of the exam instead of having to retake the entire exam when they are unable to achieve their target scores. Starting next fall, a student who has done well in the Math and Science section but would like to increase his/her score for the English section, may just retake that portion without redoing the whole test. Only students who have taken the full test at least once, will be eligible for section retesting.
Over the years, we have had students who retook the test to increase the English portion but then saw their Science or Math score drop in their retake of the test. Given that many universities did not allow superscoring (combining section results from one test date with the results of another test), this was a problem for students. Things will be changing as of next year but it is till up to the universities to decide whether or not they will accept combined results from multiple test dates. Globally, section testing will only be an option for students who take the computer-based tests. Computer-based or online testing has been the only option for testing here in Canada. Some students have preferred to travel to the US to take the test on paper. If you go across the border, you will not be able to test for section testing as this is going to only be available at online testing centers; section testing is not an option if the test is taken on paper. The advantage of online testing is that scores are available in 2-3 days instead of in 3 weeks.
According to ACT, they “will supply [universities] at least one full composite score with each superscore, plus all of the scores from the test events that are part of the superscore composite.” This will mean some savings for families because they will no longer have to send all the individual score reports to their colleges which want official reports; they can just send the superscore which will include one full composite.
This is good news for all of our students but especially for those who have testing anxiety. Students will clearly benefit from this new policy as now they won’t have to sit through two or more sections just to get to the one part of the test they want to improve. However, students taking the test for the first time should walk into a test center ready to do their best on all portions of the test and take advantage of this new policy for section retesting only if it is absolutely necessary to do so.