ACT Score Confidentiality
ACT Policies on Score Confidentiality
Relevant Federal and State Laws on Privacy for Education Records
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy ACT (FERPA) protects education records from unauthorized disclosure by schools and other educational organizations. Scores for standardized tests (such as the ACT) are considered education records under the law. There are some limited circumstances under which education records may be involuntarily disclosed, but FERPA gives students and parents a high level of control over the distribution of these records (for students aged 18 and over, even their parents cannot access education records without permission). College testing organizations such as ACT are generally not regulated by state or federal authorities, but New York and California have enacted laws that prevent any testing outfit from disclosing scores without first obtaining the consent of the test-taker.
Sending and Receiving ACT Scores
The ACT registration process allows students to specify where they would like their scores sent. Test-takers may add organizations to the list at any point before or after the test. Four score reports (plus one each for the student and his or her high school) are included with the registration fee, and any that exceed this number are referred to as "Additional Score Reports." The fee for regular delivery of Additional Score Reports (about two weeks) is $13 per report, while priority delivery (3-4 days) costs $16.50 per report. Students may not send their ACT scores directly to specific individuals at colleges or universities; reports are delivered only to the office officially sanctioned by ACT for this purpose. Some testing organizations automatically report scores for all test attempts, but ACT will send scores only for the individual test date chosen by the student. Electronic score reporting is available for institutions, and these reports are sent in encrypted CD-ROM format. Before receiving scores electronically, schools must sign a form agreeing to keep all of this information secure and confidential.
ACT Supplier Code of Conduct and Score Confidentiality
Outside organizations that do business with ACT sometimes gain access to private student information, and there is an ACT confidentiality policy in place for these entities. The ACT Supplier Code of Conduct applies to ACT contractors, subcontractors, vendors, distributors, partners, agents, and consultants, all of whom are required to "maintain the confidentiality and security of ACT confidential information" and "comply with ACT policies and legal requirements regarding the collection, protection, use, transfer, and disclosure of confidential information." Failure to adhere to this policy may result in termination of the entity's business relationship with the ACT organization.
ACT Score Confidentiality Policies and Testing under Special Circumstances
ACT score and other student information confidentiality policies are in force regardless of whether or not a student tests under normal circumstances (e.g. national test dates). The same privacy rules, regulations, and laws are applicable if a student sits for the ACT under arranged testing (typically for those who have religious objections to taking the ACT on a Saturday) or accommodated testing (for students with disabilities that affect their ability to take the ACT under regular conditions).