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ACT Changes Essay Score back to 0-12 scale

Posted by Sharon DeNunzio on July 30, 2016 at 9:00 PM

In case you missed the ACT Continuous Improvement latest series of announced changes to ACT reporting, I’m writing to let you know that you will be ecstatic to learn of this change, particularly with all of the grumbling and articles complaining about the 2015 move to report Essays on a 1-36 scale.


So, let’s say you scored a 25 Essay on your December, 2015 ACT, even though you had a 34 Composite. Let’s say that this 25 essay was comprised of three 8 sub-scores and one 10 sub-score in the four categories. You will be happy to know that the average of these four sub-scores is 8.5, which is rounded up to a 9 score. You will be able to report a 9 overall score on your Common App. A 9 overall score is the 88th percentile. Job well done!


If you had scored two 9 scores and two 10 scores on the four Writing categories, your overall average is 9.5, which is rounded up to 10. A 10 overall score is the 98th percentile. You will be happier to report a 10 versus reporting a 28 on the 36-scale. Keep in mind that even an overall 8 score on the Essay is the 84th percentile.


The ACT is not changing the format of its new, more challenging analytical essay with three different perspectives. It is keeping the four category sub-scores. The only difference in scoring will be the overall score. The overall score will revert to the 0-12 score rather than one reported on the 1-36 scale. Keep this in mind as you are approaching Common App season!


This announcement will help you understand how to convert your 2015 ACT Essay scores into the 0-12 score: http://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/WhitePaper_5_Ways_to_Compare_Writing_Scores.pdf.


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