While most students are packing up their books for the year, Minnesota’s juniors are still waiting for a key piece of academic information: their ACT scores.

The test's first statewide administration happened April 28, and some counselors and parents aren’t happy about the timeline for receiving results. They said waiting five weeks -- or more -- is too long, with the delay resulting in students not knowing whether to sign up for the upcoming June ACT test or what they should review this summer to improve their fall scores.

“I don’t understand what the hold up is with ACT to get the tests back,” said Kathleen Nettleton, parent of a junior at Wayzata High School. “Keep in mind that a lot of students are applying for college this summer.”

And with the school year wrapping up, there’s no time to sit down with juniors and help them understand their scores, counselors said.

“That’s what everyone is talking about,” said Jennifer Landy, a Wayzata High School counselor. “When are we going to get the scores, and how are we going to advise kids?”

But both the Minnesota Department of Education and ACT representatives said counselors were told from the start that scores would take up to eight weeks.

“The process is going as expected,” said Ed Colby, spokesman for ACT.

In general, ACT advises that scores will be available after two to eight weeks. Assessing the writing section, which all 64,000 Minnesota juniors took, takes longer.

Colby said most scores “are delivered in the earlier part of that [two to eight week] range.” And counselors familiar with the test said the window is usually two or three weeks when students test on one of ACT’s national testing dates. 

“It’s the first time, I realize that, but there has to be a little bit of thought in when are [the results] coming back and when do they need to register for the next test,” said Jennifer Danforth, a counselor at Nova Classical Academy in St. Paul.

Danforth said she’s had questions about when results are expected. Not all of her students can easily afford to take the $55 test again, but because they don’t know how they did, some felt obligated to sign up for the June test. It's a contradiction, she said, when the free statewide test was intended to save students money. 

Requiring the exam for Minnesota juniors was meant to increase free, in-school access to a test widely required for college applications. This year, the first statewide exam, had many schools scrambling to meet test-day requirements.

Phil Trout, a counselor at Minnetonka High School, noted that this was not a normal testing situation, but one that involved state bureaucracy and thus extra time.

“This is a test that students took in their junior year, and I think for some parents and probably also some students, they see it as, 'Well, I should get my scores while I’m a junior,'” he said.

He, too, has fielded questions from parents concerned that scores aren’t back, he said.

“Yes, there are parents filled with angst about this one, but you know, it will be fine,” he said. “To be fair, there’s plenty of time for a student to be able to do a standardized test in the fall of their senior year.”