But the ability to customize test results in this way could make test prep even more important than it is now, disadvantaging those who cannot afford it or are not advised to seek it out, said Sally Rubenstone, senior contributor at College Confidential, an online admissions forum.
“These ‘improvements’ don’t move the admissions process any closer to the destination that I recommend, which is not eliminating tests entirely, but downgrading their importance and allowing only one — or maybe two — test sessions per student,” Ms. Rubenstone said.
“I worry that most of the high-achieving kids in my orbit will retest and retest until they can bump subsections of 33 and 34 up to 35 and 36. So standardized testing will become even more of an extracurricular activity than it already is.”
Akil Bello, a college consultant who specializes in working with underprivileged students, said that while the changes sounded positive, “in the world we live in, it advantages the rich, who have coaches, who have advisers, who are strategically crafting their plan to take them to college.”
Another admissions consultant, Joshua Mauro, of Signet Education in Cambridge, Mass., said he thought superscoring would primarily benefit the ACT, by encouraging students to take its exam instead of the rival SAT. It would also help colleges, he added, by allowing them to report better test scores for students they admitted.
He said several schools already construct their own superscores, based on the test results that students send them, because “it improves their standing, their metrics.”
But he said that being able to retake individual subsections would be beneficial to students nevertheless. Just the stress and fatigue of taking a multi-hour test can reduce scores, so taking just part of it would mitigate that, he said.