Both the ACT® and SAT tests are designed to measure what a student has learned in the course of their high school education, and are used by colleges to make choices on admission of students and class placement. The SAT used to be the most popular and most accepted college admissions test, but that has begun to change in the last decade, particularly with the number of changes made to the SAT over the past few years. In 2007, the ACT became an accepted admissions test in all four year colleges and universities across the United States. In 2010, the number of high school students who took the ACT test outnumbered the number of students that took the SAT.
Since that time, the ACT has gained popularity. In 2001, Illinois and Colorado began using the ACT as a standard statewide test administered to all high school students. Michigan, Kentucky, Wyoming, North Dakota, Tennessee, North Carolina, Montana, Louisiana, Utah, and Alabama have subsequently adopted similar programs, and five other states plan to so in the near future. This trend seems to indicate a simultaneous increase in ACT popularity and a corresponding decrease in the popularity of the SAT.
There is some debate on using the ACT as a statewide test for all students because it becomes yet another standardized test that students are required to take. However, studies performed by ACT and other organizations point to some advantages of using the test in this way. The studies seem to indicate that the average scores on the test increase over time when the ACT becomes a statewide test. It can also be a factor in increasing enrollment in college. Students who might not otherwise have taken the test because they were not considering college as an option may end up enrolling in college, since after they take the test, they’ll know what colleges may accept them. They also might get scholarships and financial aid that they wouldn’t otherwise have discovered. Test scores also cause colleges to reach out to qualified students for enrollment – students they otherwise would not have known about.
The ACT test has been growing in popularity, and now the number of students who take the test consistently surpass the number of students that take the SAT. Both tests continue to be revised and perfected. There is a high likelihood that in the near future more states will begin to adopt the ACT as a statewide college admission test. It levels the playing field and exposes more high school students to the opportunity of a college education. It provides colleges with similar information on all students for admission decisions.