What’s Changing (And What Isn’t) on the ACT Test Explained

This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the National Test Prep Association’s 2022 annual conference in Atlanta. Janet Godwin, ACT’s CEO, gave the keynote address. Needless to say, many big changes are coming to the ACT test. With each move is additional work for the test prep industry and anxiety for students on how to navigate change.

In this article, we’ll discuss the major changes to expect and what’s staying the same. Keep reading!

What’s Changing on the ACT Test

VQI Reading Questions

Although they were previously announced, they’ve yet to appear on a test. To be clear, the change will affect approximately 5% of the questions on the Reading test. One of the four passages may include a graph, figure, or table. Of the 10 questions that pertain to that passage, only two of them will refer to the visual reference.

Why is the ACT adding this question type to the reading section? Most likely, it is because the SAT has done so on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section, and the ACT would like to assess similar skills. This is yet another example of how the ACT and SATs have increasingly converged in recent years, making it easy for students to transition from one test to another.

Adaptive Online Testing Exploration

ACT has been developing a new online testing platform for many years. While the test itself is not new, the way it is administered has been in a state of flux. The first pilot of the new online testing platform was conducted in 2015. A second pilot of the online testing platform was conducted in 2016, with the possibility of a full-scale rollout of the new online testing platform in 2017. Though the new online testing platform is yet to be made available to all students, it has been made available to students with special needs.

This is significant as it represents the first step in the full-scale rollout of the new online testing platform. ACT’s new online testing platform is adaptive. This means that students will receive a test that is tailored to their individual abilities. This is in contrast to the current paper-and-pencil testing format, in which students receive a test with the same level of difficulty, regardless of ability. This significant change for ACT represents a shift from paper-and-pencil testing to online testing. This change is likely to have a significant impact on the way ACT is administered in the future.

What’s Not Changing on the ACT Testing

Paper Testing

The ACT is still administering the test on paper to students who are taking the test with accommodations. However, the ACT is moving away from paper testing and will instead be administering the test digitally to all students. The ACT is also working on making digital testing available to students with accommodations.

The Science Section

The ACT is not making any changes to the science section. The science section will continue to test students’ ability to interpret, analyze, and draw conclusions from scientific information.

The Writing Section

Although the SAT dropped the essay in 2021, ACT remains committed to keeping its writing test.


The ACT test is changing in a few different ways. These changes are meant to make the ACT more accessible to a wider range of students, and better reflect what students are learning in school. Overall, these changes should make the ACT a more accurate and effective assessment of students’ academic skills.

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