The University Network

ACT Postpones National Online Testing Option

Due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, ACT has postponed its plans to grant U.S. test-takers the option to take their ACT test online at national testing centers this fall. 

Instead of putting the finishing touches on its online testing option, the organization has decided to focus its time and efforts on adding additional capacity at testing centers so that students who need their ACT scores for college admissions and scholarship applications can take the test as soon as possible. 

“We were technologically on track — as in 26 miles into a 26.2 mile marathon — to launch online testing at national test centers this fall, but the world has changed, and so too must our plans and timeframe for launching this enhancement,” ACT CEO Janet Godwin said in a news release. “We’re going to focus our efforts on doing what we’ve done well for 60 years and implementing what we can, when we can, safely and with confidence. That said, we will continue to build out this capability from a technology standpoint so we can be ready to deliver it when the market is ready.”

By momentarily shifting its focus away from online testing, the organization says it will be able to “build additional capacity for fall testing at national test centers and allow test centers to focus on providing a successful paper administration of the ACT test.”

The online version of the ACT test isn’t brand new 

For years, states and districts have been administering online ACT tests as a part of their in-school testing programs. And since September 2018, all students taking the ACT outside of the United States have had to take the test online. 

The online test has not, however, been widely available at U.S. national testing centers. That’s what the organization was trying to change. 

The organization wanted to make its online test widely available in the United States this fall, primarily because it delivers results much faster. Students who take the ACT test online can expect to receive their results in as soon as two business days, which allows them to quickly get their scores out to admissions officers and scholarship sponsors.

At this point, ACT expects it will be able to launch the online testing option at national testing centers in 2021, but that largely depends on the progression of COVID-19.  

States and districts will still have the option to offer online testing this fall as part of their in-school testing programs, though, according to the release. And students who test outside of the United States will continue to take the ACT online.