Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)




Keith T. Checketts


During the last 15 years there has been a well documented decline in achievement test scores. Declines have been documented on both the American College Testing Program (ACT) and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). An increased interest in t he score declines and their possible explanations has also taken place in the last 10 years. The explanation for the declines fit under four main headings: (1) problems with the tests, (2) changes in the testing population, (3) changes in society, and (4) changes in the schools. The purpose of this study was to begin with the test itself and check for possible score drift between two forms of the ACT, a 1977 ACT form and a form 5 to 7 years older than that.

The sample population consisted of 242 juniors at Logan High School, Logan, Utah, and 153 juniors at Skyview High School, Smithfield, Utah, during the 1976-77 school year. These samples represent 83% of the Logan High junior population and 50% of the Skyview High junior class. All subjects took the two forms of the ACT mentioned above.

In analyzing the data from the major samples with a two-tailed t test, it was found that there was a significant difference in the two tests. The largest difference was found on the mathematics subtest; the difference being that students scored higher on the older forms, not only on the mathematics subtest, but on the other subtests, also. A two-way analysis of variance with repeated measures was used to check for variance due to sex of subjects and form of test and their interractions. The findings were consistent with those of the t test. It was found that the mathematics scores varied due to the form of the test. The only sex difference was that females' standard scores were higher than males' on the English subtests of both ACT forms.

This study found a significant difference between an older ACT form and a 1977 ACT form as measured by subjects' scores on both. The findings of this research indicate that the test itself may be a partial cause of the current ACT score declines.