The ACT announced some major changes to its test starting in September 2020. In efforts to make the test more “applicant friendly” — and more competitive in the standardized testing market — the ACT will allow students to retake individual sections in an effort to improve their overall composite score. Accordingly, there will be an ACT test superscore similar to what the College Board has been offering with the SAT.
This is certainly a win for college applicants. That said, we are convinced the reasons for this change of heart by the ACT are more driven by market considerations than applicant empathy. For starters, more colleges are becoming test optional. Furthermore, the SAT just announced the high school Class of 2019 set a new record for the number of SAT test takers. These developments required a need for an urgent response from the ACT and we believe the September 2020 changes are that market response.
The ACT test superscore is almost guaranteed to boost the test’s market share. However, we are not quite sure why they couldn’t implement this change sooner. Even though many applicants will not take the ACT or SAT until the fall, many will initially target a summer test date. And, next summer, the SAT will still be the only option for superscores.