Higher ACT score, same score, lower score: What does it mean?
What does it mean when a student gets a higher score, the same score, or a lower score. I explain this in my live classes as well as my online video class, so my students should understand. However, standardized test scoring is so different they may have forgotten AND/OR did not explain the system to their parents.
In theory a student is not supposed to be able to improve their scores because their performance is not just based on themselves but also on those that are also taking the same test. In other words, not everyone can score a 20+ or even a 30+. It's curved.
The ACT keeps national statistics on how students do on their second test compared to their first. The percentages change every year but they are basically the following: 50% get a higher score, 25% get the same score, and 25% get a lower score.
I also track my students. My students tend to do the following: 95% get a higher score, 3% get the same score, and 2% get a lower score.
View the ACT as a race. When a student gets a higher score that means they passed other students. I just had a student go from a 28 to a 34. She passed a lot of students!
If a student gets the same score, it doesn't necessarily mean they didn't improve but rather they improved at the same rate as most people. (In theory, during the school year everyone is getting smarter.)
If a student got a lower score, then they got passed by other students. There can be many factors that cause this: illness, a busy extra-curricular schedule, lack of motivation, and a lack of necessary preparation outside of class just to name a few of the potential factors.
I had a student improve from a 24 (February) to a 30 (March). He was so excited because that was his goal score. I could also tell that his "motivation" was gone for the April test and I was right. He got a 27 on the April ACT. However, that doesn't matter. Colleges only care about your highest score. They don't care when you get it.
Students who get the same score multiple times tend to get very frustrated and I completely understand. However having worked with over 11,000 students and counting, I can say the following: when a student gets the same score their character is going to be tested. Are they going to be content with the score? Are they going to be motivated to prepare and try again? Are they going to get discouraged and quit even though they think they can do better? For some students, it is a tough call.
I got A LOT of emails from students on Tuesday when the scores came out. One student had three 29s prior to the April ACT. When she left class the Monday before the April ACT I mentioned that it was time for her to score a 32. I was wrong. She scored a 33!!! For various reasons she kept getting 29s but in my mind she had displayed the ablity to score a 32. She just needed to pull it together on one test day which she did. However, that's a subject for my next blog: how many times should a student take the ACT?