Computerized testing: an end to No. 2 pencils


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Students across the nation will be able to take the college admission test online in the upcoming year.

Sakshi Lawande, Copy Editor

ACT test takers take note: pencils are losing their prominence. 

A greater number of high school students around the nation will be able to take a college admission exam on a computer this upcoming year. 

This change is not surprising; the ACT has been investigating computer-based tests for several years. The organization has worked through complications in test reliability to a point at which the organization is confident in conducting the test smoothly. ACT has also been working with international organizations to ensure the test is not only accessible for students in the nation, but also for students worldwide. 

As of September 2018, ACT has been administered to international test takers exclusively in computer-based form. This decision has hinted at the future of standardized college admission testing for American students. 

The online form of the test is considered to be very similar to the hard copy. Kaitlynn Griffith, ACT’s program director, said, “There is no difference between the tests except that it’s online and that was really important to us”.

However, the organization is implementing some changes for the test. 

Firstly, it will provide more test dates throughout the year; many of the national test dates conflict with students’ schedules and add to the stress they already feel during the busy school year. 

A second change being made is one students will find more relevant: score release dates. When the scoring forms don’t need to be scanned and mailed back to the recipients, the time needed to grade the admission exam will be reduced. 

Beyond the benefits of stress relief, the move to computer-based testing reveals that online testing is the path the nation is planning on taking. Online testing is not only easily accessible but also saves time for the organizations to record data. 

When the ACT officially becomes computer-based in the United States, the format will allow students greater flexibility in scheduling their exams, and thus might help in reducing their stress. Seniors taking the college admission exam will benefit as well, as they are receiving their results more quickly–an important part in the college application process.

Senior Preksha Kedilaya is in favor of the additional test dates provided throughout the year. Kedilaya said, “For me personally, it will be a lot easier to work around my busy and stressful schedule and help me choose the perfect date to take it so I feel the most prepared.”

Kedilaya also favors the quicker score releases. She stated, “In terms of getting ACT scores back sooner, I believe that would be really beneficial and relieve that post ACT anxiety as I’m waiting for my test score.”

Students have been informed of this change, and they have reacted in various ways, depending on what suits them best as a test taker.

The change being implemented on the college admission exam will, undoubtedly, promote some adjusting for students. Ultimately, it will present students with educational material through the technology they love and the technology that they’ll be using for the rest of their lives.