Students that create an electronic account with ACT can generally view their scores online roughly three weeks after the testing date. While most scores will be made available online at this time, there is no guarantee that scores will be posted at this time. Unless there is an issue that delays the reporting-inconsistent information on the registration forms and test booklet, delay in delivering the test sheets to the scoring center, standby status of student-scores will be made available no later than eight weeks from testing. This timeframe is for the multiple-choice exams; students who take the ACT Plus Writing exam may have to wait up to an additional two weeks for the writing scores, which will be appended to the multiple-choice scores. Students should also note that posting the scores online does not in any way speed the reporting process to colleges and universities.
Sending ACT Scores
Scores can be sent via regular report, which is sent to schools the student identifies during the registration process, or via priority report, which is processed and sent three to four business days after the request is processed. Regular reporting is included in the registration fee, but priority reporting incurs an additional fee. In addition to these options, students can also order scores to be sent to additional schools past the four that regular registration covers. This service also incurs a fee.
Students should be aware that ACT policy requires scores to be reported based on the test date, not on specific exams. This means that all exams taken on a given test date will be reported as one set of scores. Thus, the option to report only the writing score if a student takes the ACT Plus Writing exams, or only the multiple-choice scores, is not available under any circumstances. This also means that students cannot combine scores taken on different test dates; multiple scores can appear in a student’s record, but each score will be associated with the test date and thus will appear as separate records.
In addition, students have the option of ordering score reports for personal use, or to be sent to schools that do not have codes in the ACT registration database. There is a separate process for ordering reports for uncoded schools or personal use, which is included in ACT registration materials. The same fees for other reports apply to sending to uncoded destinations.
Highest Possible Score
Each of the multiple-choice exams is scored on a 1-36 basis, with 36 being the highest possible. The ACT score is a composite of all the exams, which is also scored on a 1-36 basis. Thus, the highest possible score is a 36, which is the 99th percentile, meaning that 99% of all students who took the exam scored lower than that. The writing score is computed differently; it is judged by two separate judges, who evaluate the test on a 1-6 scoring basis, and their scores are combined to result in a score on a 1 -12 basis, 12 being the 99th percentile score.
At this time, there is no direct conversion chart between SAT scores and ACT test scores. There is difficulty in translating directly, mainly due to the fact that the ACT can have up to five separate exams whereas the SAT only has three. However, officials in the University of California system collated thousands of test scores and released a rough chart in 2006 that showed correlations between the old SAT scale (which went to 1600), the new SAT scale (2400) and the ACT scale. The ACT scores do not directly match up to individual SAT scores; rather, they correspond to ranges of SAT scores, which is roughly the same result that the College Board (the entity that administers the SATs) found after a two-year study of scores in the mid-1990s. In general, students that do well on the SATs are highly likely to do equally well on the ACTs, and vice versa.
ACT Score Computations
Scoring for the ACT test is done in three steps. The first step is to evaluate the student’s answer sheet and tally the correct answers. There is no penalty for incorrect answers; those questions are simply ignored for the purposes of scoring. Once the raw scores have been tallied, the raw scores are then converted into “scale scores,” a measure of how well those scores reflect performance yardsticks developed through past score analysis. Scale scores are considered valid across test dates and test versions, meaning that any given score is equivalent to the same numerical score achieved on a different testing date and exam revision.
Once the individual test scores are computed, they are summed and a test average is found; this is the student’s composite score. The composite is rounded to the nearest whole number, and is on the same scale of 1-36 as the subject exams. While the composite and subject exams are the focus of the score reports, the ACT also offers several subscores that break down and identify the student’s skill levels in the tested subjects. These subscores are measured on a 1-18 basis, and do not have a direct mathematical relationship to the overall test scores, which means the subscores generally do not add up to the test scores. However, the subscores are useful in identifying student strengths and areas of improvement. The subscores are broken down as follows: the English exam has subscores for usage/mechanics and rhetoric skills; the reading test is broken down into social studies/science reading skills and arts/literature reading skills; and the mathematics test is broken down into pre- algebra/elementary algebra skills, intermediate algebra/coordinate geometry skills, and plane geometry/trigonometry skills. The science test has no subscores; the score for the science exam is based on the total list of questions in the exam.
If a student feels that an ACT test was scored incorrectly, the student can request that the answer sheets be re-scored by hand. Both the multiple- choice and the writing exams are eligible for hand scoring; however, there is a $30 fee for each set, so students who wish to have an entire ACT Plus Writing exam scored by hand will need to pay $60. Students can request to be present at one of ACT’s regional offices during the re-scoring, but there will be an additional fee for that as well. However, if an error in scoring is found due to an error on the part of the test center or ACT and requires the student to take the exam again, the student may retest for no additional cost. Amended score reports will be sent to the schools listed by the student on the original registration form at no charge.
Also, if there was an event or disruption at the test center-including cancellations, mistimings, deviations from standard procedures, compromises of the entire process or suspicions of advance notice of the exam material-ACT will investigate the matter. If the issue turns out to be the responsibility of ACT or the test center, students may retake the exam at no additional charge, or obtain a refund of the test fee. Students should keep in mind that if they choose to retest, they will have to take the same exam set as they originally signed up for, which means if the student registered for the ACT exams without the writing test, they cannot add the writing test when they schedule a new test date, or drop it if they originally signed up for the ACT Plus Writing set.
Correcting A Score Report
If a student wishes to change or add information to their ACT score report, such as removing a Social Security number or correcting a misspelled name, students can contact ACT directly and request a change. Within three months of getting the score report, students must write in to ACT and provide the information that needs to be changed and the correct information. As of October 2007, the physical address students need to send their written requests is ACT Records, P.O. Box 451, Iowa City, IA, 52243-0451, USA. In addition to the incorrect and/or updated information, students should include a photocopy of their student report. Corrections or additions are made at no charge, but students should be aware that there is an $8.50 fee for each corrected score report sent out.
If there are any other errors on the student report other than test scores, students can write to the aforementioned address to request changes. Some errors may occur that adversely affect the student, such as errors in processing reports, shipping answer sheets or reporting scores to schools. If errors are made on the part of ACT that adversely affect the student, ACT will either correct the error and send corrected reports to all recipients specified in the registration form at no cost to the student, provide the student with the opportunity to retake the test at no additional charge, or provide a refund of the test fee. However, these considerations are generally only in effect for errors of ACT; correcting student errors will generally result in additional fees for the student.