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News & Announcements

Writing within ELA – The Strongest Measure

ACT Aspire scores in reading, math, English, science, STEM and ELA are sufficiently reliable and precise to use for accountability as an indicator of student achievement.  Beginning this Fall, the writing assessment score will be combined with reading and English to provide a strengthened and comprehensive ELA score (which is also appropriate for use in accountability). For Fall 2017, you’ll see these changes to the ACT Aspire reports, reflecting the combined ELA score, without separately reporting writing scores. The four domain scores from the writing test will continue to be reported because these offer additional information about a student’s relative strengths and weaknesses across the different competencies of writing that are assessed. The ELA benchmark included in reporting provides context of where students measure relative to other students. Additionally, continued investment in the development of ACT Aspire reporting capabilities will provide, in the near future, comparisons to norms and aggregates.

Since federal accountability has never accepted a use of a writing score to serve as an assessment of reading or ELA, ACT did not anticipate that states, districts, and schools would use aggregate scores to track performance and growth over time.  ACT will be eliminating reporting of the total writing score in Fall 2017 because such scores cannot be used for federal accountability, and the reporting of such scores has caused some confusion and misuse.  ACT Aspire will continue to report the Writing domain scores, which have diagnostic value to students and educators in identifying specific competencies and weaknesses in the writing process.  

In 2016, the ACT Test introduced an ELA score, which is a combined average of reading, English and writing. This September, ACT will also report a college and career readiness benchmark on the ACT for ELA.  ACT Aspire also provides an ELA score and accompanying benchmarks.  The ELA score, produced by combining the performance across reading, English and writing, represents both the most comprehensive measure of the content required for college and career readiness across ELA, and is an appropriately reliable score for use measuring this broad domain. The ACT Aspire ELA score is similar to all other ACT Aspire test scores in possessing appropriate levels of technical rigor to support its use in accountability, growth and measurement of student performance.  All ACT Aspire technical documentation continues to report both the level of precision of all reported scores and caution against inappropriate uses.