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The Ivy Coach Daily

February 6, 2021

An ACT Blunder

A mistake by ACT at a Bronx high school today led to a whole lot of stress for a whole lot of students and their parents (photo credit: Namkota).

It seems that about 100 high schoolers who showed up this morning to take the ACT at Bronx-based Frederick Douglass Academy III didn’t get the opportunity to do so. Instead, the doors were locked. Eventually, a school custodian showed up to inform the students and parents gathered outside in the cold that the school’s principal had no idea the test was supposed to be administered that day. But, to be clear, it wasn’t the principal’s fault. It was ACT’s fault. Apparently, the ACT scheduled the exam at the school without first getting in touch with the school and without seeking out approval from New York City’s Department of Education. Oy vey is right!

ACT Forgot to Tell School and DOE About Testing Administration

According to Susan Edelman in a piece for The New York Post entitled “ACT ‘screw-up’ shuts out teens set for college entrance exam in the Bronx,” “Parents who had paid $70 a pop for their kids to take the ACT tried frantically to reach the ACT to get answers. ‘I have been on the phone for one and a half hours trying to reach someone. A hundred kids are outside the Bronx testing site and no administrator has shown up,’ an outraged mom said…The students and parents said they received no notice that the test was canceled, either by email or on the ACT’s website. Finally, ACT tweeted: ‘I am very sorry about this! It does appear that this center was canceled. You should receive an email within two weeks regarding next steps. Again, I am very sorry about the inconvenience.’ The answer did not mollify students or parents, who said they should not have to wait two weeks for an email. The company should immediately reschedule the exam for those shut out, not leave them hanging for weeks or months, they said.”

ACT Should Make Right

We agree. ACT, we get it. You made a mistake. You forgot to inform the school and you forgot to inform the Department of Education. Oopsie-daisy. But when you make a mistake, try to make right. Sending an email to impacted students two weeks after they were all prepared to sit for this exam and not spelling out what those “next steps” are is certainly no way of rectifying the situation. Shame, shame, shame on ACT! 2020 wasn’t a good year for the test-maker. It seems 2021 isn’t off to a good start either. Get it together, ACT!

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