ACT administers first computer-based college admission exams

Stefanie Botelho's picture
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Approximately 4,000 high school students across the United States took the ACT® college readiness assessment on a computer this past Saturday, April 12. It was the first-ever computer-based administration of a national undergraduate college admission exam.

“This is an exciting step forward for students and for ACT,” said Jon Erickson, president of education and career solutions at ACT. “We are making great progress toward the official launch of the digital ACT option for state and districtwide testing next spring.”

The computer-based version of the ACT was administered to an invited group of 11th grade students in 80 high schools across 23 states. The schools had been selected by ACT and agreed to participate in this pilot administration.

“The administration went very well overall,” said Erickson. “As always at this stage, there were some technical issues, and we learned a great deal. We appreciate the participation of the students and high schools and their extra efforts during the process.”

The ACT scores that participating students earned on the digital version of the exam will be official and can be reported to colleges. The content of the exam was the same as that of the paper-and-pencil version, and reported scores will mean the same in terms of level of achievement for this administration.

“We’re adding this new way of taking the ACT to help improve student engagement and broaden college access,” said Erickson. “We want to meet young people in the world where they already live. We are working to continuously improve the ACT, and we’ll have more innovations to announce in the months ahead. The exam, of course, will remain a curriculum-based achievement exam that measures what students learn in school, as it has always been.”

Although this computer-based version of the ACT was administered on a national ACT test date, it will initially be offered as an option only in schools that administer the exam to all students on a school day as part of their districtwide or statewide assessment program. The digital version will officially launch in spring 2015 in invited states and school districts, with expanded release for statewide and districtwide testing in spring 2016.

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ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as the nation’s leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality achievement assessments grounded in more than 50 years of research and experience. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions that help people succeed from elementary school through career, providing insights that unlock potential. To learn more about ACT, go to www.act.org.