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Sue in St Pete

Is an ACT score of 26 today comparable to an ACT score of 26 30+ years ago?

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Ds15 took the ACT in June (after 9th grade) and scored a composite 26. I found this interesting because I scored a 26 my senior year in high school 33 years ago. Do you think a 26 from 30+ years ago is comparable to a 26 today?

 

I tried to find a recent thread I saw that had to do with how many generations does it take to move from a poor education to an excellent education. I think I had a decent (private grade school, public high school, private college) education. I like to think that I am providing a better education for ds. However, I do have my private doubts. :tongue_smilie: It's certainly nowhere near the ideal of TWTM. I hope he will be able to provided a better education for the next generation.

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Ds15 took the ACT in June (after 9th grade) and scored a composite 26. I found this interesting because I scored a 26 my senior year in high school 33 years ago. Do you think a 26 from 30+ years ago is comparable to a 26 today?

 

I am curious about this as well. I know that the SAT has been "recentered" since we were in high school, but I don't know if the ACT has been "recentered" as well.

 

No one at my high school prepped for the ACT - we all took the test "cold." In that sense, I think the ACT was more of a reflection on the rigor of the high school classes we took.

 

Prepping for the ACT (and every other standardized test out there!) seems to be a much more prevalent practice these days. Since the ACT is an achievement test, the typical student who preps will achieve a higher score than if he hadn't prepped for the exam.

 

However, since more students are now prepping for the ACT, it may be actually more difficult to achieve a 26 today than it was back when we were in school. (Assuming the ACT hasn't been recentered.)

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Sue, this is really funny. I had my ds take the ACT this year at the end of 8th grade. He took it at the end of 7th grade also, but he did not prep for it other than take a few of the practice tests in an old ACT prep book I purchased at a used book store. He scored a 28 this year....the same as my score when I took it 23 years ago!! While I too hope I am giving my children a better education, I was a little blown away by his score. I DID find a couple of web sites that said the scores had been recentered. So it looks like you can add about two points to your "old" score to allow you to compare it to your son's score. Also, the content of the ACT was changed (for good or bad, I do not know, just an observation). The good news is I think both of our children will surpass our scores by the time they reach their junior or senior year :D.

http://www.erikthered.com/tutor/sat-act-history.html

http://coe.westga.edu/advisement/gace.asp (go to the middle of the page under "How to Exempt Basic Skills Test" for a link to a pdf on recentered ACT scores)

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The ACT was changed in the early 90s. If you had taken the test before the date of the change, then 2 points were added to your score. (I remember this vividly because I was teaching in the local ps hs, and my students tried to take advantage of the additional points).

 

So, for example, if you made a 28 prior to the change, your score was adjusted to a 30.

 

I wish I could remember the exact year. I taught at that high school from '91 to '97. I guess I could google it.

 

And like someone else said, when we took these tests in the 80s, we took them "cold"...at least in this part of the country. I took the PSAT one time...fall of my junior year. I took the ACT one time...spring of my junior year. No prep at all for either test. This may be one reason why I am so resistant to the test prep/multi-test scenarios going on. But it seems almost unavoidable these days.

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This may be one reason why I am so resistant to the test prep/multi-test scenarios going on. But it seems almost unavoidable these days.

 

My son has taken the PSAT and the ACT cold. I really don't know how he does it. He seems to just remember everything he's ever learned.

 

I remember him telling me on the way home from the ACT test that there were some things on there he did not expect ("There was a lot of geometry. I really don't remember much geometry..."). I thought that meant he bombed it. He most decidedly did not bomb it.

 

For the rest of us (myself inclided:tongue_smilie:), a little studying can be a good thing. I do think students spend way too much time on it though. Colleges are going to wise up sooner or later.

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1989 In October, a new version of the ACT (called the "Enhanced ACT") is administered, replacing the previous version of the test. Two major changes are made: the "Natural Science" sub-test of the ACT is replaced with a "Science Reasoning" sub-test, and the "Social Studies" sub-test is replaced with a "Reading" sub-test. The new reading sub-test is designed to be a better assessment of "pure" reading ability and comprehension, whereas the social studies sub-test contained items testing, among other things, specific knowledge of U.S. history. The new science sub-test de-emphasizes specific scientific knowledge while primarily assessing analytical and problem-solving skills using reading material, charts, graphs, and tables drawn from scientific literature.

 

With the new ACT test, the scaled scores are also "recentered". Although new scores will still be reported on the same 1-36 scale, the recentering means that the scores for the previous test will not be directly comparable to scores for the new test. The change increases the average composite score from 18.6 for 1989 seniors (old scale) to 20.6 for 1990 seniors (new scale).

He scored a 28 this year....the same as my score when I took it 23 years ago!!

Thanks, Michelle! The links were very helpful. I was so curious! I do see 'Soc. S.' and 'N. Sci.' on my HS transcript, which is different from ds' report.

 

I wish I could remember the exact year. I taught at that high school from '91 to '97. I guess I could google it.

How interesting, Jetta! What were you doing in October 1989?

 

For the rest of us (myself inclided:tongue_smilie:), a little studying can be a good thing.

Ds also took the ACT cold (as I did back then). But, you can bet we'll be doing some preparation the next couple of times around. We'd be foolish not to prepare with college scholarships available based on the scores. :gnorsi:

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For the rest of us (myself inclided:tongue_smilie:), a little studying can be a good thing. I do think students spend way too much time on it though. Colleges are going to wise up sooner or later.

 

Colleges are wiser. I had one adcom tell me they liked to see a "good" student retake the test and do "better." It showed they were willing to put work in even though they could have settled with what they had and they wanted to see the "willing to work" attitude.

 

I had oldest only take the test once and once is all he wanted to do. Middle son wanted to take it more than once to improve his already good score. The attitude the adcom told me they were looking for has fit my two boys exactly. Oldest is naturally talented, but rather lazy. Middle son is naturally talented, but dedicated to learning even more (or doing even better - however you want to word it). Oldest does well in college. Middle son will do even better.

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If you really want to compare scores across the decades, look at the percentile rankings. If your percentile was the same as your son's, then you scored about the same, regardless of the numerical score.

 

This is assuming about the same population took the test, which might not be completely true. There may be more kids taking it now as more kids might be applying to college. Also, the test might be testing somewhat different things, although the basic math and reading tests are probably fairly similar.

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If you really want to compare scores across the decades, look at the percentile rankings. If your percentile was the same as your son's, then you scored about the same, regardless of the numerical score.

 

This is assuming about the same population took the test, which might not be completely true. There may be more kids taking it now as more kids might be applying to college. Also, the test might be testing somewhat different things, although the basic math and reading tests are probably fairly similar.

Great idea! I even see the percentages on my old transcript. Yes, the social studies that I took is now just a portion of the reading section and natural science is now science reasoning.

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