NASHVILLE—Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced today that the state is expanding its ACT Senior Retake Day to all Tennessee public high school students in the class of 2018, totaling nearly 70,000 students. In addition, the department is making it easier for public school seniors to retake the ACT this fall by offering this second opportunity during the school day in students’ own schools.
These changes will give all students equal access to take advantage of the opportunity. Unlike in the past, students do not need to sign up to retake the test – it will automatically be provided. School districts have been empowered to choose the testing date that is best for their students and causes the least disruption for those not taking the exam. Districts may offer the retake on Oct. 3, Oct. 17, or on both days.
“Tennessee is once again a national leader in education as the first state to offer an ACT retake opportunity to all public school seniors,” McQueen said. “By expanding our retake day, we send a strong signal that our state is committed to further increasing access, especially among students who stand to benefit the most from this opportunity.”
October 2016 was the first time Tennessee offered public high school seniors the chance to retake the ACT for free, but it was only available to students who had previously taken the ACT as juniors and who were able to take it on a weekend testing date at a testing center. Of those who participated in the 2016 retake, nearly 40 percent increased their overall score.
The department’s research shows that students have a high likelihood of increasing their score when they take the college entrance exam a second time. Higher composite scores not only provide access to state scholarships, but they also make a student more competitive for entry into higher education institutions and for institutional and private scholarships. In the first year of the state offering a free ACT Retake Day, an additional 1,300 students earned a composite score of 21 or above on the ACT, providing them access to $21 million in additional HOPE scholarship funds.
Higher scores also allow students to enroll directly into credit-bearing postsecondary coursework, avoiding non-credit-bearing remedial classes that take students’ time and money and can discourage their progress. On the 2016 ACT Retake Day, thousands of students improved individual subject scores in math, English, and reading, allowing them to avoid mandatory remediation courses in postsecondary. This is significant for Tennessee’s seniors, because last year over half of Tennessee community college students required remediation.
Also today, the department posted additional resources about the ACT, including an ACT Retake Guide and ACT Toolkit, on its website (link). To learn more about the ACT Retake Day, contact Jerre Maynor, director of student readiness, at Jerre.Maynor@tn.gov. For media inquiries, contact Sara Gast, director of strategic communications and media, at Sara.Gast@tn.gov.