ACT to Advise Colleges About Prospective Students Using Info Not Available on Student Reports
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.
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:
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”….
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.