Oklahoma Bill Would Let High School Seniors Retake ACT for Free

The Oklahoma House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a measure to let high school seniors retake the ACT for free.
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Bennett Leckrone is a news writer for BestColleges. Before joining BestColleges, Leckrone reported on state politics with the nonprofit news outlet Maryland Matters as a Report for America fellow. He previously interned for The Chronicle of Higher Ed...
Published on March 20, 2023
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  • The Oklahoma House of Representatives voted to allow high school seniors to have the option to retake the ACT for free.
  • The legislation will now move to the state Senate for consideration.
  • Oklahoma currently allows high school juniors to take either the ACT or SAT for free during school hours.

High school juniors in Oklahoma can take the ACT for free under state law. And under legislation moving through the state Legislature, high school seniors may soon get a free chance to retake that standardized test.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives last week passed a bill that would allow high school seniors an optional and free retake of the ACT. That legislation would also offer high school seniors ACT WorkKeys, a career-readiness assessment for students who aren’t looking to go to college.

"A voluntary fall ACT retake for seniors with an option for WorkKeys provides two fundamental needs for Oklahoma," bill sponsor Rep. Rhonda Baker said in a press release.

"First, it provides additional instructional time to address the lost learning from the pandemic. This may improve ACT scores, expand eligibility for scholarships, and to reduce the need and costs for postsecondary remediation. Second, it provides students who do not plan to attend a four-year college with a credential that certifies to employers and training providers that the graduate has the essential workplace skills that are the best predictors of job performance."

Baker, the chair of the House Common Education Committee, noted that other states that have provided free ACT retakes to students, like Tennessee, have seen increased scores and scholarship opportunities as a result. Baker’s legislation now heads to the state Senate for consideration.

Oklahoma offers free ACT or SAT testing for high school juniors during regular school hours, according to The Norman Transcript.

ACT composite scores nationwide took a nosedive last year to their lowest level in more than 30 years, BestColleges previously reported, as part of a downward trend that began before the COVID-19 pandemic. Less than a quarter of students taking the test in 2022 met all four ACT subject-area benchmarks in reading, math, science, and English.

Many colleges and universities moved away from requiring the ACT and SAT during the pandemic, BestColleges reported. The University of California system voted to eliminate those standardized testing requirements by 2025, and Harvard waived requirements for undergraduates through the class of 2030.

Some schools, however, have reinstated standardized testing requirements in recent months. Purdue announced in November that the school would again require the ACT or SAT from prospective students for the 2024-2025 academic year, BestColleges reported.