ACT to allow students to retake individual sections of their test

BETTENDORF, Iowa -- New changes are coming to one of the oldest standardized tests and it could improve a student's overall score.

Earlier this month, the maker of the ACT test announced new changes to their exams. Come September 2020, students who have taken the ACT will have the option to retake individual sections of the test instead of the entire exam. Those who take the test more than once will be given an ACT “superscore” that averages their highest possible ACT composite score.

"If they’ve already demonstrated they’ve done well in science and they’re satisfied with their score, we can just go over here and focus on the English section now," said owner of Tutor Doctor, Jill Evola Vokt. "It’s going to allow students to really push their scores higher."

Tutor Doctor offers programs for students wanting one-on-one help. Jill Evola Vokt said doing well on the test requires several strategies.

And those tips are ones Bettendorf High School Junior, Ava Abbott, wants to learn.

"I don’t like standardized testing," Abbott said. "It stresses me out."

For the past month, Abbott has been studying for her ACT exam scheduled in December. Although she knows the changes will not better her own fate, she said she is glad something is being done to ease students' stress.

"I've known people that have taken it several times, the whole test, just to improve one section," Abbott said.

A student's ACT scores can define their chances to be accepted into college, class placement, and even scholarships.

"It’s a big deciding factor for us," said Allie Conklin with St. Ambrose's Freshmen Admissions. She said the higher the student scores on the test, the better the scholarship, too.

"They work really hard for years and that one test date shouldn’t be their only deciding factor," Conklin said. "We hope it benefits them and we hope we're able to give them more scholarships and make college more affordable for them."

"That’s what I’m really trying to get," Abbott agreed. "Because college is expensive. So I’m really working to do good on the ACT so that I can get scholarships."

Also starting September 2020, students will also have the choice of taking the ACT online during national test dates, with test results delivered in as little as two business days.

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