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Kristin Fracchia

What is a Good ACT Aspire Score?

ACT Aspire tests are scored on kind of a funky scale that changes between subjects and between grades tested. For the ACT Aspire test given in grade 10 (the one that predicts your ACT scores for 11th grade), here’s how the scoring breaks down in the table below:


Now let’s get into the nitty gritty about what this all means, what a “good” ACT Aspire score is, and how these crazy scores in the low-400s correlate to ACT scores from 1-36.


What is ACT Aspire?

First of all, let’s back up a little here and review, because ACT Aspire is pretty new. ACT Aspire debuted in 2014 as a “suite” (so fancy!) of assessments to test students in every year from grade 3 to grade 10. It’s given on the computer, so it’s different from the ACT in that sense, although many of the question types are similar to the ACT’s.

Before ACT Aspire, there was the PLAN test, which was more like what the PSAT is currently for the SAT: a mini-ACT that was a little shorter and a little easier than the grown-up ACT. Scores on the PLAN ranged from 1-32, so they were more like ACT scores, except for the fact that the highest score on the ACT is a 36. This was because the PLAN was easier than the ACT. Now the PLAN is defunct, which means we all must get used to the new ACT Aspire scores.


Why is ACT Aspire 9 and 10 so Important?

Although all of the ACT Aspire tests might be important to schools in terms of providing some benchmarks regarding how their students are doing, the ACT Aspire 9 and 10 are the most important test for YOU in terms of your college admissions and test prep plans. Why? Because the Aspire tests you take in high school also give you your predicted score on the ACT, so it acts like the PSAT does for the ACT.

However, you shouldn’t put too much stock in these predictions right now since the Aspire is so new and the format is different from the ACT. It will take time to see how accurate these predictions are; a better indication of your ACT scores would be to take an ACT practice test.


Ok, but I care, so what is a good ACT Aspire Score?

It’s definitely important to have some perspective on where you stand compared to other students on the same standardized test. So here are the numbers you should be looking at:

The first score to pay attention to is what the ACT Aspire calls a benchmark score. Achieving this benchmark score means you have a “high-probability of success in first year college courses.” In other words, you are on track to be college-ready.

Unfortunately, ACT Aspire does not provide benchmark scores for composite scores, so you need to determine whether you hit the benchmark for each individual subject on the test. In the table below, we’ve listed the benchmark scores for grades 9 and 10.


So, theoretically, if you are aiming for a college, according to the creators of ACT Aspire, if you hit the benchmark, you have a good ACT Aspire score.

The second set of numbers to be paying attention to are your percentile rankings. In fact, you’ll probably find these to be more useful than your actual Aspire scores. For each subject you’ll see how you compare nationally to other students who took the test. So depending on your goals, maybe doing better than half of students out there is good for you, or maybe you would like to be above 90% (if you are aiming for one of the top colleges in the country, this is ideally where you want to be on Aspire percentiles).

Now let’s talk about how the ACT Aspire scores compare to ACT scores (and whatever you might think is a good ACT score).


ACT Aspire to ACT Score Conversion

It’s still too early to develop a table of accurate ACT Aspire to ACT scores; the ACT hasn’t fully released this information (although you can see numbers from their sample set of 50 students here if you are really interested in sorting through the spreadsheets).

But we’ve developed a table converting Aspire scores to ACT scores based on percentiles for students in grade 10 on the Aspire test and percentiles for test-takers on the ACT.


Again, keep in mind these are rough estimates based on our calculations. If the ACT releases exact tables, we will keep you updated!


So what’s next?

Take an ACT practice test and start from there. Remember that the Aspire is not exactly like the ACT and you may perform differently on the ACT. So a practice test will provide a better diagnostic. Then find a quality class, tutor, or online program for the ACT and start prepping!


The Aspire is different from the PreACT. For everything you need to know about the PreACT, check this out!

About Kristin Fracchia

Kristin makes sure Magoosh's blogs are chock-full of awesome, free resources for students preparing for standardized tests. With a PhD from UC Irvine and degrees in Education and English, she’s been working in education since 2004 and has helped students prepare for standardized tests, as well as college and graduate school admissions, since 2007. She enjoys the agonizing bliss of marathon running, backpacking, hot yoga, and esoteric knowledge.

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