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Azalea

ACT yesterday not enough test booklets!

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My son, and many others, was turned away from taking the ACT exam yesterday do to not enough test booklets. Has this ever happened to anyone else? Partly this is just a hopefully, helpful warning that this can happen. The school gave the students a letter stating that they would be contacted by ACT within the next two weeks to reschedule the exam. One girl was very upset as she was leaving for Russia the next day, can you imagine! I guess the moral of this story is don't wait to take the exam. For my son, I'm not sure I care if he takes it and I'm wondering what the Hive thinks. My son's first score was a 34 composite. He was taking the exam again to try and bring up the math score - 32, and the writing portion - 8. Maybe we just shouldn't bother - would you??? He has a 3.9 gpa and plans to go into computer science hopefully at our state flagship which we think he can get into. He doesn't have many extracurriculars, probably won't apply at prestige schools. We do hope to get into honors college at the state school. He will also have 4 terms community college after senior year. My son has scored 35 composite on practice tests, highest writing on practice test was a 9. 

 

Anyway, strategically it makes me wonder if they will give a unique test or the same test. I would think it would have to be a unique test. Would a strong test taker do better in a small pool or a large pool, would it make any difference? the letter said that test scores would be reported in the same time frame as the June 10 test. Any thoughts?

 

 

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Yes, I was reading some of the SAT fine print yesterday when I added a score report to my DD's list. They warn against cases like that and others—that there's no real guarantee that you'll absolutely get to test that day if one or more situations crop up. Made me glad that her test date went off without a hitch. Sorry that your son's day did not go as planned.

 

No thoughts on your other question, but interesting to consider.

 

Erica in OR

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A person with a high initial score is less likely to improve their score on retake and more likely to see their score go down (regression to the mean, and all that).  This is why when the first time my son took the ACT he got a score that placed him at the 75th percentile for admits at the schools he was interested in, we decided that he shouldn't take it again.

 

That said, I would be concerned that the people taking the test on the make up day might possibly be more conscientious students that might move the curve to the right.

Edited by EKS
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that's ridiculous - we have computers to track that stuff!!

 

but at 34 why would you bother

 

 

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:confused1:  Did they explain why there weren't enough test booklets? That really stinks for the kids who weren't able to take it.

 

Our ds got a 34 on his first try and we did not even consider having him retake it - so no, I would not bother having him retake it if I were you.

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You can get a pretty good idea of his admission chances by looking at the ACT scores for the flagship - look for the average and range. If a 34 is not in the top 25% for a public school, I really want to know what state you live in, lol. 

 

Does his major have selective admission? 

 

Does he want to retake or not? 

 

I personally would not retake just for honors college purposes, I don't think a 35 vs a 34 is going to be the deciding factor. 

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Statistically there is less than a percent difference between a 34 add 36. I would not retake it.

 

That they ran out of booklets - that's INSANE!!!

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Thanks for your responses! I agree it's insane that they ran out of tests, I will type in what info. they gave at the bottom of this post. About why we are retaking...heck if I know, I guess I was just following the plan.  We did use a test prep center, and fyi  I can say with both of my kids we have seen a 3-4 point increase from the initial practice test, to the final practice tests and this carries over to the actual test. The testing centers plan was for my son to take the first test, then come back in for additional prep./discussion and then re-take. I am now trying to convince my son not to re-take, I can't quite get out of him why he wants to bother. (oh, fyi our contact at the test prep center has not had this happen before to any of their students, so hopefully it is rare)

 

Here's the letter my son was given:

 

Dear Students, 

 

We regret to inform you, that due to a shortage of testing materials, we will not be able to administer the ACT test for you today.

 

ACT will contact you within the next 2 weeks, to reschedule you for a makeup test date. That test should be administered within the same testing window as today's exam. There should not be a delay in your scores.

 

If you are in need of further assistance, please contact ACT at (319) 337-1270. They are in the office today to take your calls.

 

(Please note, this was not the fault of XYZ High School. Please do not contact them with your concerns. ACT contracts with the XYZ School District for the use of their buildings, but the two are not affiliated.)

 

Thank you for your understanding in this unfortunate situation.

 

We apologize for this testing materials error, and we are truly sorry you are not able to test at this time.

 

Sincerely,

 

The testing staff

ACT Center #178890

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A person with a high initial score is less likely to improve their score on retake and more likely to see their score go down (regression to the mean, and all that).  This is why when the first time my son took the ACT he got a score that placed him at the 75th percentile for admits at the schools he was interested in, we decided that he shouldn't take it again.

 

That said, I would be concerned that the people taking the test on the make up day might possibly be more conscientious students that might move the curve to the right.

 

That's a very interesting point. 

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You can get a pretty good idea of his admission chances by looking at the ACT scores for the flagship - look for the average and range. If a 34 is not in the top 25% for a public school, I really want to know what state you live in, lol. 

 

Does his major have selective admission? 

 

Does he want to retake or not? 

 

I personally would not retake just for honors college purposes, I don't think a 35 vs a 34 is going to be the deciding factor. 

 

I live in the great state of Oregon, where it almost always rains in June. No we don't need a higher score. I do think my son might like to apply just for fun to a more selective college, but that will probably fade fast when he sees the application, essays, etc. that need to be completed. 

 

His major is computer science with maybe a math minor and I don't know if that will have selective admission - I suppose it might - I probably need to look into that. He will have plenty of courses in comp. sci. and high level math. Not a lot outside academics...

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Oh wow. But they issue tickets, how can they not know how many kids are showing up?

 

Seriously, that is the question of the day. They can't count? Guess they failed the ACT.

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Statistically there is less than a percent difference between a 34 add 36. I would not retake it.

 

In a normal distribution, the difference between the 99th percentile and the 99.9th percentile (essentially the difference between a 34 and a 36) is the difference between being the top 1 in 100 and the top 1 in 1000, respectively.  This is a huge difference.  

 

In contrast, at the mean, one percentile point difference is the difference between being ranked 50th vs 49th in 100, meaning that there is essentially no difference.

 

My point here is that one percentile point at the tippy top end means something very different from a percentile point in the middle of the distribution.  

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Seems like ACT has made some mistakes lately. they sent the wrong tests to 21 Ohio school districts. At first they said they wouldn't score them and would schedule a retake, then they said they'd score them. 125 student answer sheets were lost in CA. 

 

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/local-education/reversal-act-will-release-scores-from-wrong-tests/mQS7SYzoG96kpBvZRAnN0L/

http://ktla.com/2017/06/07/about-125-act-tests-lost-after-l-a-students-take-college-entrance-exam/

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In a normal distribution, the difference between the 99th percentile and the 99.9th percentile (essentially the difference between a 34 and a 36) is the difference between being the top 1 in 100 and the top 1 in 1000, respectively. This is a huge difference.

 

In contrast, at the mean, one percentile point difference is the difference between being ranked 50th vs 49th in 100, meaning that there is essentially no difference.

 

My point here is that one percentile point at the tippy top end means something very different from a percentile point in the middle of the distribution.

Yes, but in researching top colleges, there doesn't seem to be any real difference between a 34-36. 33 to 34, yes, but beyond that we haven't seen where retakes beyond a 34 are worthwhile. YMMV.

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I continue to be confused. How will they administer within two weeks and publish scores on time? Aren't ACT test scores supposed to be published almost exactly two weeks after administration?

Also, which test will they administer? Because kids are already discussing the test online (even though they're not supposed to, obviously). Just by trying to figure out if my kid's science section experience was common, I already read what one of the science sections was about online.

If my kid wasn't given the test on test day, he'd not be able to take it as we drove directly to brunch and to the airport for his overseas flight. But for him it doesn't matter.

Thanks for the cautionary tale, OP!

Edited by madteaparty
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I continue to be confused. How will they administer within two weeks and publish scores on time? Aren't ACT test scores supposed to be published almost exactly two weeks after administration?

Also, which test will they administer? Because kids are already discussing the test online (even though they're not supposed to, obviously). Just by trying to figure out if my kid's science section experience was common, I already read what one of the science sections was about online.

If my kid wasn't given the test on test day, he'd not be able to take it as we drove directly to brunch and to the airport for his overseas flight. But for him it doesn't matter.

Thanks for the cautionary tale, OP!

 

I have all the same questions. The test prep center said that they would contact the ACT people and find out some information. I'm not sure if I want to contact them myself until I have a definitive answer from my son about whether he wants to re-test. I think I just want my money back at this point.

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