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.
In a carefully worded news release, ACT described changes starting with the September 2015 test as “designed to improve readiness and help students plan for the future in areas important to success after high school.” In general, ACT proposed to tweak the optional Writing Test in small—possibly unnoticeable—ways.
And while the 1-to-36 scale would remain the same, ACT indicated students would also be evaluated in new areas of writing competency, including ideas and analysis, development and support, organization, and language use.
But it wasn’t until ACT recently announced changes in reporting documents 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.