ACT test website crashes when registration opens after canceled exams

Elva Mankin

Lora Leuzinger spent five hours on the ACT site Monday to get her daughter, a rising senior, registered for the college admissions test. 

Previously, the family from Dublin, Ohio, registered for the test four times, she told USA TODAY. But every time, it was canceled because of the coronavirus. March, April and May tests were canceled throughout the country. ACT tests continued at some sites this summer, but many testing centers closed because of rising COVID-19 cases — a possibility that looms for fall as well.

The chaos continued this week. ACT opened registration for September and October tests Monday, but shut down its registration site shortly after opening it “due to high demand,” according to the organization’s statement, which was posted to Twitter. The testing group said it would have an update on Tuesday, only to say Tuesday morning it would have an update at noon Central Time on Wednesday.

Although some schools have made the test optional for the upcoming admissions cycle, “they’re still basing scholarships off of it,” Leuzinger said.

“It’s still a necessary thing for rising seniors to have,” she said. “They have to figure out a way to make it possible to do it.”

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For a test registration site that had been preparing for months, and for parents who had been worrying about getting their kids registered, the site’s crash signaled a “complete failure,” said mom Tammy Brazil on Twitter.

She tweeted: “I had a test day in the cart and it spun for over 30 minutes before crashing. What score would you give yourself?” 

Another mom, Deidre Appel, voiced concerns that there was “no prioritization for seniors who are running out of time.”

“Tests cancelled in April, June and July; non-functioning website on Fall test registration day,” she tweeted at the ACT account. “You’re messing with children’s lives!”

In the places that are holding ACT tests, concerns have arisen about the threat of COVID-19 transmission. Two students tested positive after sitting for the exam at an Oklahoma high school Saturday. As many as 200 others may have been exposed while taking the test, according to CNN.

The ACT isn’t the only admissions test to have problems with registration amid coronavirus: The SAT registration site reopened late May, but students took to social media to share that the site kept crashing.

Another high-stakes test, the Advanced Placement exams, went online this spring, with mixed results. While some students were able to take their tests in May with no issues, hundreds of parents and students complained on the College Board’s Facebook page that they were unfairly shut out of exams by faulty technology.

Contributing: Erin Richards, Samantha West and Lily Altavena, USA TODAY.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID crashes ACT test 2020 registration website after exams canceled

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