The ACT will be changing the scoring scale of its optional writing test back to a 2-to-12 scale but the test itself will not be changed. The change to the 1-36 scale created confusion (particularly as some schools continued to report percentiles on the old scale…) and, according to Wayne Camara, the ACT’s senior vice president for research, “Converting the writing scores to the 1-to-36 scale may have made the differences in scores seem larger or more obvious. This really is a perceptual problem that we are addressing.”
We personally believe that grading the writing test is very hard to standardize and moving back to 2 to 12 will help sweep this difficulty under the rug so to speak. We believe the best spin on this whole story is that many schools including top schools such as Columbia, Stanford and UCLA don’t require the optional writing test.