KBOR makes changes to college admissions and the ACT

BY HALEIGH RABER 

Most students have probably taken the ACT at one point or another. Some might have taken it more than once. There are timed sections of the test and to get a better composite or overall score on the ACT, high school students must retake the entire test. That is about to change.

According to Jon Armstrong, Head of Admissions at FHSU and member of the KBOR qualified admission committee, the Kansas Board of Regents has decided to make changes involving the ACT and college admissions. Instead of needing a 21 or higher on the ACT, students will either need a 21 or 2.5 GPA for college admissions. This is beneficial because students who struggle getting the 21 composite score can now be admitted to KBOR institutions based on their GPA.

Another change KBOR made involves score improvement. Instead of retaking the entire ACT test to improve their composite score, students will be able to retake certain sections to improve what is called the superscore. The superscore is now taking place of the composite score, which is the overall score of the test. This is the biggest change to the test since the ACT began. 

Although a lot is up in the air, KBOR is trying to put these new admissions requirements into effect at the start of fall 2021 because it takes between six and nine months for the rules and regulations to process.

“Three things are in the mix. One, the recommendation to throw. Two, how we are going to handle superscoring in the state of Kansas. And three, the application process,” Armstrong said.

Even though this change applies to highschoolers, the change can also apply to college students. Currently, the ACT allows students to go back to either September or October of 2016. This means that as a freshman in college applying for an ACT scholarship, students could superscore. Because of this, the scholarship committee could allow students could go back and retake a section of the test to improve their overall superscore. 

With all of these changes, there have been concerns about students not being motivated to do their best. 

“I can see how people might think a student might possibly be less motivated but however is really not different than if the student had already met the GPA standard,” Armstrong said. 

Armstrong then went on to say that FHSU doesn’t seem to have many unmotivated students. They are trying to make scholarship more accessible to students because it’s not solely based on the ACT. 

Some, however, are worried about how this may affect the workforce down the road. 

“It feels like a slippery slope to just let everybody into college. It will affect the economy and the workforce. It can become an issue for those that have the degree but aren’t willing to do the work,” said Zane Raber, a family therapist who works with students applying to college.

High school teachers and college admissions board members think lowering the score won’t be a problem, believing that high school students who are ready to enter the workforce will understand how hard they need to work for what they want. Most of the time, these students will rise up to the challenge. 

There is still plenty to figure out with no concrete data to consult when making these changes. KBOR is asking for patience as these changes are just as new to them as they are to everyone else. They also are working hard to ensure that they communicate with parents, students and high school counselors.

“Overall that ACT is important, but so is your GPA,” Armstrong said. “We want students to know that GPA is not being attributed to a student opportunity in the classroom. I want them to not sweat the ACT, but I want them to take it seriously. We are trying to provide more opportunities for students to know that they can be admitted to a Board of Regents School.”

TMN’s Corie Lynn contributed to this report. 

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