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ACT to Advise Colleges About Prospective Students Using Info Not Available on Student Reports

June 23, 2015

ACT is revamping its test, creating new scoring subscales and combining other scales in new ways– and it also plans to advise colleges and universities regarding predicted student success in given majors.

Thus, ACT is intentionally shifting its role from reporting test scores to advising postsecondary institutions regarding admissions decisions.

There’s more:

Students will not be privy to the advice ACT is offering regarding ACT’s predictions of student success. None of this info will be part of the student score report. Such info will be between ACT and postsecondary institutions.

And not only does ACT believe it has a right to both form and communicate its opinions of student success to colleges and universities; ACT is fine with forming some of its judgments based upon unverified, volunteered student self-report information.

All of the above info and more can be found in this June 22, 2015, Examiner article written by DC college admissions examiner Nancy Griesemer.

Below is an excerpt:

About a year ago, the ACT organization announced what appeared to be subtle changes for 2015-16, mainly in the Writing section of the test. …

But it wasn’t until ACT recently announced changes in reportingdocuments provided to both students and colleges that the full story came clearer.

In draft versions of score reports planned for schools and students, it’s evident that ACT not only wants to provide information on student test performance in five core sections of the test (including the optional Writing section), but also wants to chop and dice it into a series of 11 sub- or “domain” scores, including everything from “rhetorical skills” to “ideas and analysis,” all of which scored on a scale of 2 to 12.

In addition, ACT will generate two new hybrid scores in English Language Arts (ELA) and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), based on various combinations of English, Reading and Writing or Science and Math scores. The new report will also provide terse one- or two-word written assessments of “understanding complex texts.”

And for colleges correlating career readiness with retention and completion, there’s a little bronze-to-gold level rating “certifying” skills critical to future education and career success.

But of somewhat greater concern are assessments provided to approximately 450 institutional participants in ACT Research Services of “Overall GPA Chances of Success” in various general categories of majors including education, business administration, liberal arts, and engineering, as well as “Specific Course Chances of Success” in broad areas such as freshman English, college algebra, history, chemistry, psychology etc.

Chances of success are made in terms of those students likely to receive a “B” or better in these areas or those students likely to receive a “C” or better. And they are nowhere to be found on the ACT report provided to students and families.  …

During registration, students are asked to voluntarily report grades in core academic courses. These grades are converted by ACT to an unweighted GPA on a 4.0 scale. None of this data comes from the high school and there is no obvious mechanism for verifying its accuracy, although students are clearly warned, “The information you give may be verified by college personnel.”

While these kinds of assessments aren’t exactly new, the intense interest in marketing chances of success to unnamed colleges purchasing a service that estimates student potential based on information reported by the test-taker computed together with scores and historical data provided by the institution is troublesome.

In other words, through the college score report forms, ACT effectively gets more actively involved in the college admissions process by projecting for admissions readers how likely it is that an applicant would not only succeed at their institution but also in their chosen field of study. …

But students are left completely in the dark, as nothing appears on documents they receive that would reveal what ACT is suggesting about their chances of success at a specific institution. Chances of success do not appear on the ACT Student Score Report because, according to ACT, “the college owns the information”….

The entire article is worth a sobering read.

accept reject


Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has a second book, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?, newly published on June 12, 2015.

both books


  1. AND the bonus — the ACT is Common Core aligned.

    ACT has also replaced/changed some of its offerings (Explore was dumped for Apsire, Workkeys was aligned to Common Core) see:

  2. Reblogged this on Lady Liberty 1885 and commented:
    Here comes ACT deciding what your child will pursue based on test scores. Bonus: ACT doesn’t tell you anything about it.

    Reminder: ACT and it’s products are Common Core aligned.

    • And remember that ACT representatives were among the original 24 writers of the CCSS along with SAT, Achieve and David Coleman’s SAP.

  3. Father Paul Lemmen permalink

    Reblogged this on A Conservative Christian Man.

  4. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    This reminds me of the use of NELS-88 data in postulating that course-taking patterns in high school predicted later in life income and other outcomes. That was part of the ADP project that morphed into the CCSS. Note that college admissions in the arts still depend on portfolios or performances in addition to or in lieu of the skills tested in ACT, and it is not the case that ACT scores will always override judgments on the portfolios/performances. I could be wrong , but the actual or implied claims about the predictive power of ACT should be stopped, perhaps with some court action for misrepresenting the uses of the information.

  5. confused permalink

    This is so wrong, unethical and cruel it is terrifying to me as an educator! So, if they want to show that CC is so accurate and a true prediction of college readiness they can just tell colleges what ever they want and shift kids into what ever the going career trend/need is. Coleman’s reform methods are so wonderful, see how this test can tell you which humans have potential and which ones you don’t want to waste money and time on! If you need more STEAM students, bam!!! These kids will be great students because we at the ACT said so. We won’t tell you what we said but trust us, this student will do very well and if not it’s the college’s fault! You need more Healthcare students, oh look here are the high school graduates who we judge will be successful. We push kids in middle school to plan their futures 5 years out. High schoolers have been forced into college prep even if they want to be a welder. Pretty soon we will just determine a child’s potential success with the first ultrasound or just do skull circumference measurements! ETS = Educational Tampering Service!

  6. I consider myself fortunate to have grown up when I did. My GPA in high school was above the 3.0 mark unweighted (I took mostly honor and AP courses) and I pulled an acceptable score on the ACT despite not being that great of a test taker. I was accepted into all the the schools I applied to and offered a scholarship at several. In college, everything just kind of fell into place and I excelled. I just finished my 18th year of teaching and can’t imagine doing anything else. I doubt that I’d stand a chance in today’s world and I worry about all the kids who are at risk of slipping through the cracks like I probably would today.

  7. dolphin permalink

    Reblogged this on Dolphin and commented:
    This is just sooo over-the-top! The control freak nature of this just gives me chills. How presumptuous of them to form an opinion of a student. How can they possibly justify this…?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Da Tech Guy Blog » Blog Archive » The Path Of Predetermination
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  3. #DM7 Article: The Path Of Predetermination | Lady Liberty 1885
  4. Student Success/Every Child Achieves Act Vote is TODAY- #StopHR5 #StopECAA - Stop Common Core NCStop Common Core NC
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