SHERIDAN — The Wyoming Department of Education called for cancellation of statewide testing for the spring semester including the ACT, a test every Wyoming student takes their junior year in the spring.
The ACT is used for college admission and sometimes to gain financial aid through scholarships.
Mitch Craft, Sheridan County School District 2 assistant superintendent for curriculum and assessment, said the WDE is exploring avenues on how to provide students with an opportunity to take the test. ACT announced on its website that tests will not be administered until June.
While this delays the timetable for juniors to receive their ACT scores, there is still time before college applications are due. Application deadlines to attend college in the fall of 2020 have already passed, Craft said.
Students filling out those applications were seniors who already took the test as juniors in spring 2019 and had a chance to retake the ACT in the fall semester of this year if they desired.
Craft said in most cases, rescheduling the ACT is not time-sensitive except for unique situations. He expects universities and colleges are going to have more creative thinking to handle situations moving forward.
Shelly Dodd, University of Wyoming director of admissions, said the admission staff at UW is trying to stay in contact with future students during this time and make sure they are sharing any information or help they need at this time. There is no discussion about changing admission requirements of submitting a ACT or SAT score along with a high school transcript at this time.
UW is recruiting multiple classes of new students and their main focus right now is current high school seniors who will be attending UW in the fall, Dodd said.
One situation the ACT cancellation could have an effect on is incoming students who are trying to boost their financial aid by moving up in the levels of the Hathaway Scholarship or the Cowboy Commitment, a scholarship offered to first-year students.
Dodd gave the example that students with a high enough GPA could potentially receive more scholarship money by increasing their ACT score. These students could have scheduled a testing period in April in attempt to earn a higher score.
Dodd said UW admissions staff is working on individual situations, looking at the possibility of accepting rescheduled test dates from April to June on scholarship opportunities. Nothing has been decided and any questions should be directed to UW admissions staff. Verification of test dates are needed.
The current situation continues affecting students across the nation. Northern Wyoming Community College District President Walter Tribley said Gillette College and Sheridan College will be as flexible as possible with admission timeline. Both schools will roll with the punches and make sure their doors remain open to students.
For the ACT to be administered, whether a paper and pencil test or the online version, it requires students to be in a room together to follow test security and administrative protocols, Craft said. The ACT has not hinted at allowing tests to be taken at home during this time.
The WDE is considering avenues to administer the test at a later date, in June or later in the fall. WDE is also considering providing vouchers to all students for a free test to be scheduled on their own.
Craft said school districts are staying in touch with the WDE assessment division to make sure students and parent stay informed.