The Truth About The ACT

More than a million high school students take the ACT (formerly known as the American College Testing Program Assessment) each year. The ACT is more common in the South and Midwest while SAT testing is more common in the West and East coast. Both of these tests hold heavy determination amongst college admissions and scholarship criteria. But what if I told you that this was all a scam? 

Over time, the ACT has been found as biased, inaccurate, and misused. The ACT has limited and even denied educational access to students. Even a straight A student can be limited to educational opportunities based on this single test. The ACT has shown bias in race and family income. For example, in Mississippi, ACT test scores were used as a way to segregate within state colleges and universities. In 1962, Mississippi’s Higher Education Board instituted a minimum ACT requirement for admission that was eight points above the average black students´ score in the state. ACT scores are directly related to family income; the richer students’ parents are, the higher are average scores. According to ACT research, when all factors are equal, such as coursework, grades and family income, whites still outscore all other groups. 

ACT scores do not predict college performance effectively. Even the test-maker admits that high school grades predict first year college grades better than ACT scores do. One study at Chicago State University confirmed this trend. For the vast majority of the university’s graduates  who scored in the middle range of the test as high school students, the ACT explained only 3.6% of the differences in cumulative college GPA. 

Evident research provides examples of test score misuse, and the negative impact test score use has on education equity which leads to the conclusion that test scores should be optional in college admissions.  The ACT provides more limitations to students than it does success. With the ACT being profoundly used in college admissions and scholarship opportunities it is hard for students to have access to both. In the United States, 25 states require the ACT or SAT in order to graduate. This includes Tennessee. This shouldn’t be a requirement for graduation, given the bias and inaccuracy shown from the ACT,  criteria needs to be changed so that all students; regardless of race, class or gender have the opportunity for educational success.

Read more from The Bobcat Times:

2023 Bobcat Graduation!

Amaria Foster Takes MTSU!

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