Universities are putting less weight into ACT scores amidst 30-year low

WAFF 48's D'Quan Lee reporting
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 9:28 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) -A recent report from the ACT organization says their test scores were the lowest they’ve been in 30 years. In fact, they’ve been on a steady decline for six years, well before COVID.

However, those lower scores don’t hold as much weight with universities in the Tennessee Valley as they used to.

“Data shows that a high school GPA is a better predictor of student success in college,” said Julie Taylor, the assistant vice president for enrollment management for the University of North Alabama.

She says during COVID, they became a “test-blind” institution, meaning whether or not a student decide to send schools their test scores, it won’t be considered as a part of their admission. She says even before COVID, the university was already moving towards that direction.

“The ACT score can be a limitation for underrepresented students and their access to college so I think it’s a barrier that again COVID sort of accelerated,” she said. “We were able to tear that down and lower the barrier and create access to college.”

William Tunnell with the Alabama Education Association says even though colleges aren’t as dependent on high ACT scores for their enrollment, a high score helps can help make college more affordable through scholarships.

“It still remains an important assessment of student progress throughout their high school career,” he said. “It’s very important that even though some institutions may no longer be considering ACT scores for admission, you still have the potential to gain significant amounts of scholarship funding depending on your ACT scores.”

Tunnell also says those same scholarship opportunities may be available for students who take the ACT multiple times through what is known as a superscore.

It’s a collection of a student’s best scores of every category of the test, showing their progress and growth for every student.

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