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My daughter got her ACT score for the October test date today, and it was two points lower than her April test. I get that scores can drop, but she did some serious studying between the two test dates. Her composite scores for the last couple practice tests in the weeks leading up to the October test were seven points higher than she actually scored.

Question: would you have your student's test hand-scored in this situation?

I am considering it because not only is that a huge drop from what she was getting on practice tests, but the areas that she took the biggest dives in were her best areas! She went from mid-30's on practice tests to mid-20's in both reading and English. It is like I am looking at someone else's scores, honestly. She left the test center confident that she had done pretty well, so her score today was very unexpected.

Is it worth the money to have the test hand-scored? Or would you just have your student test again in December? FWIW, my daughter is a senior and needs to raise her score one point to qualify for the honors college at her top choice school. 

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I don't know, but I will say that I saw some discrepancies between practice tests and actual tests for one of my kids. And my one that retook the test didn't have a drop, but also didn't raise the score, despite a lot of studying and some tutoring. So, I feel your disappointment. I saw a graph on the ACT site that said while many students improve, some stay the same and some will have lower scores...I'll have to see if I can find that later. 

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Found the info under FAQ's: Should I test again?

 

Quote

 

How will you do on a retest?

Research shows that of students from the 2015 graduating class who took the ACT more than once:

  • 57% increased their Composite score on the retest
  • 21% had no change in their Composite score on the retest
  • 22% decreased their Composite score on the retest

 

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I’d have her test again. 😕 Tests vary. She just hit a hard one, at least for her. She may do better on the next. Or not, but given her goals and how close she is, it seems worth a shot.

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I would not recommend paying the money to have the test hand scored.  My daughter scored between 8-10 points lower than her practice tests and only 2 points higher than her 7th grade score in math when she took the test in September.  I paid the money, but only received a 3 line letter that everything was fine.  Apparently, they used to hand score with an actual person, but now all they will do is confirm that the correct test key was used to score the test.  Doesn’t seem like much for $50, plus if she needs the scores soon you won’t have a response in time for the December test date.  My daughter will be retaking the ACT in December so that we can have a copy of her test book and answers in case there are any issues.  I don’t think I will let any of my kids take an ACT or SAT in the future unless it is a test date that those are available.

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Also, scoring is relative to the test pool.  April seems a little off season. October would have the kids who prepped also summer, and were into application mode. 

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My dd just took this ACT test. Her English score tanked - by so much that, even though she raised the other 3 scores (math by 4 points alone), her composite stayed the same. I think the English just was a harder section this time. 

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