ACT Essay Scores are Inexplicably Low, Causing Uproar Among College-Bound Students

Many students are in an uproar over a change to the ACT that has yielded what they call inexplicably low scores on the essay section of the nation’s most widely used college admission test.

Controversy erupted soon after the ACT introduced a revised essay-writing task in September that is being graded for the first time on the same 36-point scale as the rest of the test. Counselors across the country are complaining that many of their top students, who routinely earn marks higher than 30 on other parts of the ACT, are getting writing scores in the low-to-mid 20s.

"I know these kids well," said Michele Hernandez, a college counselor based in Vermont. "There’s no way they should be getting scores that low on the writing. It’s obviously out of whack."

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