Myth or Fact: The Science section of the ACT tests science content knowledge?
We often hear from parents that a student wants to take the ACT because they are stronger in math and science (and since the SAT does not have a “science section”, they feel the ACT is better suited to the student). This oftentimes leads to us having to explain to families why the science section score is so low: Because it isn’t really testing science content knowledge. The ACT cannot accurately predict what science courses a student takes prior to taking the ACT (no, not all schools require students to take a specific course in their freshman, sophomore, or junior years!), so they must require students to answer questions based on the information provided (paragraphs on experiments/theories, or charts, graphs, and tables). This means that oftentimes the score the Science section most closely correlates to is…. Reading! The student must parse through all of the information provided and find the relevant details or make the correct inferences based on the information, which is… reading comprehension! There is a nominal amount of content that a student should know, but attempting to bring in too much outside information from classes can be detrimental to the score!