Let's Make the ACT More Challenging!

To the American College Testing Program,

Students across the nation have been doing well on their ACTs for much too long. Are you aware that, in 2007, sixty-eight students in Illinois alone received a perfect score on the ACT? This is simply unacceptable! You need to step it up and make sure no one gets a perfect score. The ACT is meant to be a difficult test, and I’m sorry to say that you have gravely disappointed me. The idea of creating a test that people can do well on is ridiculous! Your job is to create a challenging test, and since you are not doing this adequately, I have a few suggestions for improvement.
Firstly, you should ensure that the test is completely different from the ACT preparation courses. If your tests are similar to the practice tests that students take, their chances of getting a better score increase. This is not what you want. You are trying to test us, not be our friend. So the solution is: mix it up! Confuse the students. You don’t want to have confident students breezing through your test. That would be a complete catastrophe. Spice it up a bit! I know for sure that all students would greatly appreciate it. Students don’t want easy. Who wants to do well on an easy test when they could do poorly on a hard test? We will not stand for it! We students thrive on a good, hard test. If you make the test more difficult, you would be doing your job better and we would be getting a challenge. It’s a win-win situation!
Secondly, increase the number of questions in each section of the test but have the students take the test in the same amount of time. It is not uncommon for students to finish sections of the test early. You want students to be working on the questions until the very last second. Of course, this will leave no time for students to double-check their work, but who needs to double-check? We students should learn to get it right the first time. On that note, make it mandatory that students write in black permanent marker on their tests. This leaves no room for error, and would most likely lower scores on tests. Even if you only make small changes like these, you are on your way to achieving your goal of creating a more difficult test.
Thirdly, your math section in particular has concepts too easy for high school students. Come on! You’re job is to make the ACT difficult for us, not send us back to the third grade. For instance, we students remember everything we learned about mean, median, and mode. Of course we remember learning about them way back in elementary school. I personally remember everything I learned when I was seven. So why bother testing us on them? Questions similar to mean, median, and mode are a piece of cake. As a kind person with your best interest at heart, I know you don’t want to give us cake. Give us Brussels sprouts (a.k.a. Calculus problems)! High school students don’t cover calculus until their senior year, so it would be the perfect solution to this dilemma. Another suggestion is the simple banning of all calculators. This will make the math portion go much slower and will most likely result in a lot of unfinished tests. You’re even closer to your goal now!
Fourthly, try incorporating a new portion on the test. Foreign language might present some interesting possibilities. You could include all three of the languages taught in school (German, French, and Spanish) on one test. This would result in students taking a test on at least two languages they don’t know. Furthermore, make the questions in this portion focus on language rules that only a person fluent in that language would know. Even getting one of those questions right would be an outstanding achievement. This foolproof plan is a guaranteed score-dropper!
So, American College Testing Program, I hope these suggestions will be useful in your efforts to challenge the American high school students. I expect to see some of my suggestions on the test in the future. Just think, these changes will make the test harder and help you do your job better. No need to thank me. And just to be safe, make sure to call all schools using this test and tell them to hire a few extra mailmen because you will be receiving so many letters from students thanking you for challenging them. In addition, you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve had such a great time writing this letter that it has inspired me to work for the American College Testing Program!
Your Future Esteemed Colleague,
Rebecca Van Kollenburg

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

longlivinyl said...
Dec. 31, 2008 at 2:08 am
This was a satirical article.
Alcas said...
Dec. 24, 2008 at 11:21 pm
I scored a 30 on the ACT. And I would like to mention that i didn't have a calculator because i forgot mine because im forgetful. One problem I have is that the entire time it sounds as though you want people to score low on the test and for that to be the purpose of the test, and while I agree that the test was incredibly easy I must also add that the SAT is considerably less so. The ACT's purpose is to determine whether or not you are ready for the initial college courses. It is not an actual... (more »)
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