Recent changes to the major assessment tests will give incoming college students a chance to prove themselves and will give institutions the right to require writing as a critical skill.
Both the ACT and SAT will be implementing new changes in 2005 that will focus on the writing skills of students.
The ACT, which is required in the state of Colorado for all 11th graders, will include an optional writing component on their new tests. It will be left up to university admissions to require this writing test as part of the students submission form. Upon request, the student can also take the writing test.
So far, the ACT regional offices have had a positive response from students about the writing test, said Ed Colby of the ACT media relations department.
The ACT decided to make the writing section of the test optional because most universities already require a personal essay and they didn’t want to force more work on students, Colby said.
Since the announcement that the writing test would be optional and left up to universities to require it, the only school system that has announced their intent to exercise the option is the California college system.
“Writing is such a critical skill the College Board decided it shouldn’t be an option,” said Jennifer Copiel, spokesperson for the SAT college board.
The SAT is hoping to influence students to strive for the extra education, she said. And while the SAT hasn’t heard much response from students, they are finding enthusiasm among university admissions directors.
CSU admissions decided against requiring the writing section of the ACT for right now, said Tillie Trujillo, director of operations for admissions. She said admissions already requires a personal essay and if students want to do the writing, CSU also accepts the SAT.
CSU is shying away lack of information as well, Trujillo said.
“Not knowing what the writing assignment requires makes us want to stick with a personal essay,” Trujillo said. “It allows (students) to tell us the information they wish and to explain things on their application.”
At CSU only about half of the weight for admission is placed on the assessment test, while the other half is placed on the personal essay, transcripts and letters of recommendation.
The only way CSU would ever add the writing section of the ACT would be if admissions found they were receiving different results from the two tests, or something was lacking in one of the tests.
“We don’t want to jump to any conclusions without thinking it through,” Trujillo said.