ACT TEST CHANGES: Students soon can retake part of exam

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) For the first time ever, students won't have to retake the entire ACT exam to better their scores.

The change was announced Tuesday. It will go into effect in September of 2020.

Students must take the full test before they're allowed to choose one or more of the four sections- Math, Reading, English and Science- to retry.

Drury University's Director of Admissions, Lindsay Tobin, said the school carefully looks at applicants' ACT scores.

"It is a measure of finding out if a student's going to be successful in college," she said.

Tobin said the test score can help with scholarships, class placement and honors college.

"It kind of opens the door to a lot of different opportunities," she said.

Leisha Baker, with Club Z! Tutoring in Springfield, said that's exactly why the ACT is stressful for students.

"This test is a beast," she said.

Baker, a former teacher, has been running the tutoring and test prep service for nearly a decade. She said, for some students, the ACT is 3.5 hours of pressure.

"Then they get this score, then all of a sudden, they feel inferior or they're not smart and it really kind of destroys self-esteem," she said.

That's why, Baker said, the change is so important.

Right now, the ACT composite score is an average of the exam's four sections. Students wanting a higher score have to retake the entire exam, which can be challenging, as they try to better low scores while maintaining their best scores.

ACT rolled out another change called "superscoring." It's sort of a "pick and choose" option for students who have taken the entire exam multiple times or choose to retake certain sections. It's an average of a students highest scores in all sections.

Baker said some colleges and universities already accept "super scores." Drury is one of those.

Even though her university already accepts the super score, Tobin said the partial retake option will help.

Baker said, not only might the new rule take some stress off high schoolers, but said it might also give a better depiction of the kind of student they are.

"I think this will actually give a more accurate picture of how that student does academically because they'll be able to show their strengths in all sections and not be exhausted. By the time they get to the science, they just want to get out of there," Baker said.

The ACT also announced Tuesday students will be able to take the test online during national testing days at ACT test centers. Right now, students can only take the test with a paper and pencil on national testing days. The online option will allow for quicker turnaround on scores.

Students wanting to retake one or more parts of the ACT will have to complete the partial test at online testing centers.

Partial retakes are not available with the SAT.