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 because students don't know if they should sign up to retake the test in June.
"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."
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, is time intensive, Colby said.
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.
But, with the conclusion of the school year, counselors said they are concerned they won't be able to discuss scores with students.
"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?"
This was the first year the ACT was given in schools statewide. Requiring the exam for Minnesota juniors was meant to increase free, in-school access to a test widely required for college applications.
But the slow score return has meant some students are paying the $55 to sign up for the June ACT as a precautionary measure.
If their scores from April aren't good enough, they want to be able to take the test again as soon as possible.
"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.
Phil Trout, a counselor at Minnetonka High School, has also been fielding questions from parents concerned about the timeline of the statewide ACT scores. But he's not worried. This was an unusual testing situation, he said, that involved state bureaucracy and thus extra time.
"Yes, there are parents filled with angst about this one, but you know, it will be fine," Trout said. "There's plenty of time for a student to be able to do a standardized test in the fall of their senior year."