ACT Will Revise Essay Scoring Method


This week, reported that the scoring method for the ACT essay will return to a 2-to-12 point scale, after it was changed this year to a 1-to-36 point scale. What is the ACT essay and does this change anything for students?

The newly revised essay section requires students to write a “unified, coherent essay in which (they) evaluate multiple perspectives.” They must also “state and develop (their) own perspective on the issue” and contrast it with those given. Previously, the ACT essay asked students to take a stance on a given issue and argue their own side, rather than compare/contrast and consider multiple perspectives.

How is it changing? The format isn’t changing, according to, but while “the essays will still be scored using the same rubric, on four domains (ideas and analysis, development and support, organization, and language use and conventions) by two independent readers..." the scores will be converted to a 2-to-12 scale. 

The rest of the ACT is scored on a 1-to-36 scale, which is why test creators changed the writing section to match. But with too much student confusion, they’ve decided to go back to the old rubric and scoring. The ACT essay will be scored by two individual scorers on a scale of one to six, which can add up to twelve in the four sections. The scores are then averaged.

“‘Our customers have spoken, and we have listened,’ said ACT Chief Commercial Officer Suzana Delanghe. ‘Converting the writing results to a 1-to-36 scale made sense conceptually, but in practice it created confusion among some students.’”

Students scored in similar percentile rankings, but something was lost in interpretation when they relied on the 36 point scale. The ACT now recommends students use percentile ranking to determine how their scores match up nationally.

Read the whole article and find out more about the new ACT here, or contact Hughes College Prep for individualized test prep and advice on improving your own ACT score.