Most of the students taking it will have had 6 months to prep for it, plus there is such a pent up mass of students who will take it in September and October. Does anyone think that they will make the test harder for this Fall, or that the grading will be harder, to try to string students out along a bell curve, rather than wind up with a large bulge of high scores?
I expect there will be a lot of students throwing out some high scores because they did have a lot of test prep time. However, I don’t think the test itself will be harder. It is curved to be representative of an equal level in difficulty across all ACT tests over time.
Tests take a long time to develop. I see no reason to expect them to be “harder”. And when tests vary in difficulty based on the imperfect science of test preparation, the equating process accounts for it.
Equating’s goal is the assign students a consistent score based on performance, regardless of test difficulty or the test population, over an extended time period. If 50% of those taking the test were suddenly geniuses, performing at a 36 level, the process would assign them a 36 (in concept - the would likely be an investigation). There is no goal of making a “bell curve” on a specific test, penalizing students who take it with a high achieving group.
I doubt many students spent 6 months on standardized test prep - I don’t expect a spike in scoring.