The Tennessee Department of Education highlighted an opportunity this fall for all high school seniors to boost their scores on the ACT college entrance exam after taking the test the first time as a junior during the COVID-19 pandemic. While a recent ACT, Inc. study found that the 2020-21 ACT results indicated an anticipated decline in ACT scores nationwide, Tennessee is the first and only state to offer this free retake opportunity to every Tennessee high school senior this fall.
The ACT is a comprehensive college entrance exam covering a wide range of subjects that assess students’ mathematical skills, grammar usage, science interpretation, and reading comprehension. Because results from college readiness tests like ACT are often used to determine eligibility for scholarships, including the Tennessee HOPE scholarship, ACT re-take opportunities empower students to fulfill requirements for college admission and demonstrate readiness.
This year, the department is urging all Tennessee high school seniors to take advantage of the fall ACT retake opportunity and has expanded the state testing windows to provide additional options. ACT Inc.’s research shows that students who take the ACT more than once increase their score by an average of 1 point. Students who improve their scores in one or more subject areas tested will have their super-score composite available to send to postsecondary institutions and scholarship programs.
Districts across the state will be able to offer the free fall ACT retake opportunities during one of the following three-day windows:
*October 5-7, 2021
*October 19-21, 2021
*November 2-4, 2021
Students who score a 21 or higher on the ACT meet criteria for Ready Graduate, the state’s indicator to reward schools and districts whose high school graduates demonstrate postsecondary readiness.
Fifty percent of students who participated in the Fall Senior Retake in 2019 increased their composite score from their junior year in 2018. Additionally, 3,825 seniors raised their composite score to a 21 or higher, allowing them to access more than $61 million in HOPE Scholarship funds.
Throughout the summer, the ACT Success Tactics Workshops and Mastery Classes were available for free via Zoom to all Tennessee high school teachers and students, designed for rising 11th and 12th graders, to gain knowledge and skills to prepare for and be successful on the ACT. The workshops and classes are being held through the fall.