ACT Testing Amid COVID-19

COVID-19 has disrupted your life. We’re here to help you navigate the path forward.

3 Things We Want You to Know
 

We’re here to help you.

COVID-19 has disrupted your life. We’re here to help you navigate the path forward.

Class of 2021 Seniors & Family 
Class of 2020 Seniors & Family
Colleges and Universities
Educators, Counselors, & Advocates

We've learned from experience.

We were the only college admissions test to offer spring and summer test dates. We continue to learn from what went well and what didn’t go as planned to improve your experience.

We’re actively listening and responding.

We’re committed to more proactive communication with you and to opening up as much testing capacity as possible, following CDC and local public health guidelines for the safety of students and staff.

Our Continued Promise

Life is all about navigating the bumps in the road, and we’re here to help. Find the information you need, based on your unique experience.  

Students and Parents

The COVID-19 pandemic probably has you asking a lot of questions as you look towards your final years of high school and beyond. We know it’s challenging, and we want you to know we’re committed to giving every student the best possible chance to take the ACT. We’re doing everything we can to make that happen and to provide the information and resources you need to test at your best. Please visit our Help and FAQs for answers to all your questions.

Colleges and Universities

We understand and empathize with colleges turning to momentary test optional policies to make students’ lives easier in this uncertain time. 

COVID-19 has changed almost every aspect of the education landscape, and testing is no exception. What hasn’t changed is the fact that the ACT test is built upon 60 years of research, and guided by input from thousands of educators across the entire K-Career ecosystem. 

Scores from the ACT provide valuable college and career insights, a clear path to scholarship opportunities, and the chance to be identified and recruited by colleges.

We understand that some students will not have access to the same testing opportunities as others, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that is why we encourage colleges to make decisions that best support their institutional goals and meet the needs of the students they serve.

Test scores can aid colleges in this confusing time, offering helpful insights that inform difficult decisions like identifying and choosing among applicants in the crowded field of students presenting similar high school grades.  Additionally, test scores offer clarity against the backdrop of otherwise non-descript transcripts (pass/fail) resulting from COVID-19 school closures. Because of the multiple benefits testing provides to students and the colleges and universities that utilize test scores, we’re providing as many flexible testing options as we can. These include: 

  • Opportunities for educators and advocates like ACT State Organizations members to offer the ACT via national and unlisted test center administrations at their schools. 
  • “Pop up” sites that will allow ACT to offer up to 10,000 additional seats in areas most affected by COVID-19-related test cancellations this spring, utilizing our existing network of test centers, as well as new test sites at non-traditional centers like hotels, staffed by ACT team members. These sites will test on existing national test dates and may or may not be visible in MyACT for self-service registration. Limiting students’ ability to register for these sites through MyACT will allow ACT to more effectively meet demand by moving students affected by cancellations to open “pop up” sites. 
  • Remote proctoring, coming as early as this winter. 
  • On-campus (residual) testing, which allows colleges to administer the ACT to prospective or admitted students for use at their individual campus. More than 600 colleges have adopted this program, including users in all 50 states.

Educators, Counselors, and Advocates

The past few months have been exceptionally difficult for you. We value your dedication in helping students navigate the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, and we’re committed to helping you prepare them for a successful transition to life after high school—whatever that may look like for them.  

Unfortunately, it’s clear the pandemic will be with us into 2021. This means continued limitations in test center capacity and inevitable cancellations. While the test centers students see listed on MyACT are currently open for testing on the date noted, their registrations could change as ACT and test center staff monitor changes in local COVID-19 conditions and adhere to CDC guidelines.  

To plan for these realities, we are doing everything we can to secure additional space for students who will need more options. In addition to the changes we’ve already made to add more capacity, here are a few more examples of what we’re working on:  

  • “Pop up” sites that will allow ACT to offer up to 10,000 additional seats in areas most affected by COVID-19-related test cancellations this spring, utilizing our existing network of test centers, as well as new test sites at non-traditional centers like hotels, staffed by ACT team members. These sites will test on existing national test dates and may or may not be visible in MyACT for self-service registration. Limiting students’ ability to register for these sites through MyACT will allow ACT to more effectively meet demand by moving students affected by cancellations to open “pop up” sites.  
  • Partnering with commercial testing companies to share their already-existing space within your communities.  
  • Working with state Boards of Regents, colleges, and universities to help them administer “On-Campus Testing” for their students. 
  • Working with school districts to help them become an ACT test site for their students (these are called unlisted test centers and are not available on MyACT).    
  • Working with ACT State Organizations members (our grassroots network of education and workforce advocates) to offer the ACT test at their schools via national and unlisted test center administrations. 

Helpful resources

Use your voice:

Lessons from Summer Testing

Must Secure Additional Space

COVID-19 affected our ability to administer the spring and summer test dates. We postponed the April test date to June, and operated at a limited capacity during our June and July test dates. The demand for testing and the need to earn a score has carried over into fall test registration. 

We know site cancellations and closures are likely and have contingency plans in place for “pop up” sites in affected areas. 

Proactive Communication is Key

Our operational teams performed a massive manual outreach campaign to thousands of test coordinators to better understand which sites were open and prepared to administer the test in a COVID-19 environment in line with local public health and CDC guidelines. Conditions changed quickly in certain locations where the virus was surging and last-minute closures and cancellations did occur. 

We will continue to proactively communicate with test centers and inform students of changes as quickly as possible. 

Supporting Seniors with Sites & Seats

We were able to provide makeup tests in certain locations for those impacted by last-minute cancellations, automatically registered thousands of impacted class of 2020 and 2021 seniors for fall test dates, and have added additional test dates to our regular national testing schedule this fall. 

Seats and sites continue to be added to the MyACT registration site as we work with local test centers to add capacity across the nation.  

What We're Doing

Acknowledging COVID-19 Realities

We’re working to accommodate the demand for testing and better serve you throughout the process. Unfortunately, we have to acknowledge that seat and site capacity is subject to change, due to the changing nature of COVID-19.

Ramping Up Capacity & Support

Our operations team has been working to add seats and sites to fall test dates, and improve the communication process for notifying students of cancellations and closures. We’re also adding more call center staff to answer phones and emails and get you the help you need. 

Addressing Summer Testing Limitations

To the best of our ability, class of 2020 and 2021 seniors—impacted by summer test date cancellations and closures—have been placed in seats at sites that are currently open for the fall. Some of these students could not be automatically registered for fall test dates but we are doing everything we can to secure additional space for students who will need more options. 

COVID-19 Blog

We’re working to provide you with as much information as possible during this uncertain time. Take a look at our blogs related to testing, learning and navigating the new normal amid COVID-19.  

FAQs

Still have questions? Find answers to all of your questions about the ACT test and test day here