Education

ACT Refusal To Release Test Scores Prompts Tennessee Investigation

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter

Tennessee’s comptroller said Tuesday that the state will investigate the test administrator ACT Inc. after the company refused to release test results to more than 400 Tennessean high schoolers.

Justin Wilson, Tennessee’s comptroller, will investigate salaries for ACT leadership, as well as its nonprofit status after the organization refused to return results for exams that some students received two weeks before others, reported The Washington Post.

Bearden High School and Alvin C. York Institute students took tests dated Oct. 3 from ACT and administered them Oct. 17. While Randy McNally, Tennessee’s lieutenant governor and state senate speaker, as well as the school community requested the scores, ACT declined to do so, suggesting the test’s integrity could be compromised given the fact that other students had taken it two weeks before Bearden students.

Sara Gast, Tennessee’s Education Department spokeswoman, said Bearden “inadvertently left their test date as the default of Oct. 3 in the ACT electronic ordering system.” But while the fault may lie with the high school, the University of Tennessee has agreed to accept test scores from Bearden, if they are released.

“A bureaucratic error should not stand in the way of these young people’s future,” McNally said. “ACT simply needs to explain the situation, release the scores and let colleges and universities make their own determination as to their value. Their refusal to release the scores has turned the college admissions process into a hostage situation.”

Tennessee’s lieutenant governor also noted that financial aid was impacted by the release of the results.

ACT Inc. apologized to McNally at the end of November, but noted that the company planned on “acting with integrity and doing what is in the best interest of all of our stakeholders in providing college readiness test scores that are valid, reliable and useful for all concerned.”

The organization said it is “fully compliant” with its nonprofit status and indicated it will cooperate with the investigation, according to a statement obtained by WaPo.

A little more than 2 million high school seniors — 64 percent — took the ACT in 2016. The college readiness test passed the SAT for number of student takers in 2012, reported Education Week.

“This request was made to the Comptroller very recently,” John Dunn, Wilson’s public information officer, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “In general, a review like this will take a period of months to complete. It is our practice to not discuss any details of a review until such time a report is completed.”

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