This blog post is part of a series of posts that draw on technical assistance responses we have prepared for individual regional comprehensive centers and states to answer specific questions and address specific needs related to their CCRS work.
In response to a recent technical assistance request, we explored the following questions related to the ACT exam, a college readiness assessment typically taken by high school juniors and seniors:
- What states have statewide policies regarding the ACT?
- What do states do with ACT data?
- What resources exist to support states and districts to use ACT data?
It is important to note that there are several other exams in the ACT suite, including ACT Explore, ACT Plan, ACT QualityCore, ACT Compass, and ACT WorkKeys. Some states have policies regarding these other ACT exams, but states are only included in this scan if their state policy includes The ACT.
States with Statewide Policies
Using ACT provided data as well as Internet searches we found:
- 15 states have statewide policies regarding administration of the ACT exam: Arkansas, Alabama, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming
- 5 states will implement statewide administration of the ACT exam starting in 2014–15: Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, and Wisconsin
ACT Data Use
An Internet search of each state education agency’s website was conducted to find information related to the state’s ACT policy and ACT data usage. We also contacted state officials who were involved in the ACT administration for additional information. We found that among the states with statewide policies:
- 11 publicly report aggregated ACT scores (at the school-level and/or district-level)
- 8 use the ACT as part of their state accountability systems
- 3 include the ACT as a component of high school graduation requirements
Resources for ACT Data Use
We used our Internet search and state contacts to identify resources that states use to support districts and schools with using the ACT data. ACT provides in-person and webinar training and support for state clients, and it has developed several practice guides:
- Issues in College Readiness: Using ACT Data as Part of a State Accountability System
- Connecting Data to Systemic Improvement, Classroom Instruction, and Student Success: Instructional Support Workshop
- Educator’s Guide to the ACT Writing Test
- The ACT User Handbook for Educators
Clarisse Haxton is a senior researcher and technical assistance liaison at the College and Career Readiness and Success Center.
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