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ACT Online

A computer-based practice ACT English test is displayed on a computer monitor Wednesday, May 6, 2015, in Washington. 

Students taking the ACT next year could experience a vastly different testing environment.

Beginning in September 2020, the ACT will offer online testing in select testing centers in a decision expected to expedite scoring windows left open after a student completed their exam, according to a news release from the ACT.

Also new next year, the ACT will allow students who have taken the exam once to retake individual sections — math, science, reading and writing included — rather than the entire exam.

ACT will also introduce superscoring, a practice commonly used by The College Board's SAT exam.

"With these changes, ACT is evolving to meet students in the digital world in which they live," ACT Chief Commercial Officer Suzanna Delanghe said in the news release. "We want to do a better job of helping them succeed."

The ACT's newest options come as a result of feedback from key stakeholders, including parents, students and educators, according to the ACT. The changes are supported by ACT research and technology upgrades.

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Online testing is expected to begin next fall in select locations and will expand eventually to all exam centers. Students in these locations will be given the option of taking a paper or online test.

The ACT expects the online testing will offer results to students in two days after their exam is proctored rather than the estimated two-week return typical of the ACT's traditional paper-based test.

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Superscoring will allow multiple-time test takers to present their highest score on each individual exam section to participating colleges for admission and scholarship consideration, a practice ACT creators say they believe is more predictive of a student's future success in college courses.

"The ACT test will remain the same valid, reliable indicator of student readiness for success in college that it has always been — one that is based on 60 years of research and measures what's taught in the classroom," Delanghe said. "We are simply offering new ways to take the ACT, saving students time and giving them the ability to focus only on subject areas needing improvement."

The ACT is offered nationwide to students seeking to enter higher education. The test's makers offer free test preparation through an online resources called ACT Academy. Interested students can take a practice online exam before deciding if they would like to take this test or the traditional paper exam.

More information is available online at act.org/morechoices.

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Education Reporter

Carley Lanich covers education in Lake County and throughout the Region. She comes to Northwest Indiana from Indianapolis and is an IU-Bloomington grad.