From ACT Website first published By Steve Kappler, Interim Vice President, Marketing and Communications, October 13, 2014.
As announced earlier this summer, we are providing additional information on the enhanced ACT® Writing Test that will be introduced in fall 2015. The changes to the Writing Test, as with all of our solutions, are driven by research and evidence. These modifications are the result of a decade of unique insight and experience, and are reflective of our commitment to continuous improvement. The ACT Writing Test will continue to give all students the opportunity to demonstrate their readiness to meet the writing demands of college and career.
While the current ACT Writing Test is an exercise in classic persuasion, the enhanced Writing Test will present students with a rhetorical purpose that is more broadly argumentative. It is designed to better measure students’ ability to evaluate multiple perspectives on a complex issue and to generate an argument based on reasoning, knowledge, and experience. In this way, the enhanced test enables students to more fully demonstrate the writing skills and abilities they will need in college and the workforce.
The ACT Writing Test will remain an optional essay test with a single prompt. Each prompt will present a paragraph that introduces and gives context to a given issue, and three perspectives on the issue. The writer is asked to “evaluate and analyze” the given perspectives; to “state and develop” his or her own perspective; and to “explain the relationship” between his or her perspective and those given. Taken as a whole, these pieces constitute a rich argumentative task that draws from subgenres including evaluative argument and rhetorical analysis, and that also calls upon the tools of expository writing.
Students will continue to receive a single subject-level Writing score. In addition, students will receive scores for four important domains of writing competency (ideas and analysis, development and support, organization, and language use), each scored and reported on a 2–12 scale. Assessing critical competency domains separately will enable ACT to better identify and reward the strengths students exhibit in their writing, while also noting specific deficiencies.
Students will also receive a score that combines their scores from the English and Reading Tests with the Writing subject-level score. As is the case today, the Writing score will not affect the 1–36 ACT Composite score. ACT will continue to link reported scores to our ACT College and Career Readiness Standards for Writing and Ideas for Progress.