Parents and teachers may want to note that choice and public schools across Wisconsin will see a change in test-taking next school year, as the state is moving from the ACT Aspire test to the PreACT Secure. Both tests, given in grades 9 and 10, are meant to predict how students will perform on the college-readiness ACT test, which students take in grade 11.

The vendor that supplies the test, Iowa-based ACT, has sunsetted the ACT Aspire, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. The 2021­–22 school year was the last for Aspire in Wisconsin schools.

Among differences between the two tests: PreACT Secure scoring will run 1 to 35, unlike the ACT Aspire, where the scores were in the hundreds (300, 400, etc.) The lower numbers align the new test with ACT scoring. Nikki Braconier, ACT program coordinator at the DPI, told School Choice Wisconsin that that she believes the new scoring will make it easier for parents to envision what their kids’ scores will be on the ACT.

Other differences: PreACT Secure does not include a writing test. And students must take the test, covering all subjects, in one sitting, like the ACT. PreACT Secure runs 155 minutes, compared to 285 minutes for ACT Aspire.

“I think students obviously are going to love it, and I think administrators are as well, just for that time savings in the classroom,” Braconier said.

PreACT Secure covers English, reading, math and science.

Testing windows for the PreACT Secure for the 2022–23 school year run Monday–Friday for two consecutive weeks:

Test window 1: March 20–24 and March 27–31, 2023
Test window 2: April 3–7 and April 10–14, 2023
Test window 3: April 17–21 and April 24–28, 2023

Starting in fall 2022, ACT will offer a website, schedule of events, online webinars, and training materials on the new test.

Choice students outperform

The requirements for testing choice students are the same as in the public schools for grades 3 through 11: several years of the Forward Exam, then the PreACT Secure and then the ACT with writing. There is also a DLM assessment (Dynamic Learning Maps) for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

Students in Wisconsin’s private school choice programs have consistently scored higher than public school students on ACT and Aspire.

Teachers and parents: What are your thoughts on the changing test and on the state assessments in general? Send an email to [email protected]. We may contact you and ask to use your comments in a later blog post. You can also send news or info tips to that address for this blog. We won’t publish your name or identifying information without your permission.

School Choice Wisconsin