Research

Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic on Incoming High School Seniors

From the first cases of COVID-19 emerging in early February 2020 to the wave of school closings across the country in mid-March, the effects of the pandemic have been felt across the United States. Within a matter of weeks, schools closed and instruction moved into other formats.

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What Preparation Works to Improve ACT Scores

Standardized tests like the ACT provide a common basis for comparison of students across schools and states and have been a key point of consideration in post-secondary admissions for over 60 years. Research has shown that, in general, test preparation has a small but positive effect on standardized test scores.

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Comparability Between Paper-Based and Computer-Based Testing for ACT

Three recent studies demonstrated that paper and online tests measure the same knowledge and skills, but students who test online tend to perform slightly better than students who test on paper, especially on the English, reading, and writing tests. ACT will equate scores across modes as needed to ensure that ACT scores can be treated as interchangeable regardless of testing mode.

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Validity of Low ACT Scores

Different uses of the ACT Assessment emphasize different intervals on its 1–36 score scale. Its use by colleges for applicant selection and course placement emphasize the middle and upper intervals of its score scale, and these uses have been extensively validated.

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High School Students' Experiences in March During the Coronavirus Pandemic

At least 55 million students ended the school year learning at home after approximately 124,000 public and private schools closed their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. This "new normal" created uncertainty among high school students about their futures as many struggled with the pandemic’s compounding effects as they also worried about basic needs such as food and housing.

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Benefits of PreACT: What Does the Evidence Say?

This brief summarizes five benefits of schools providing the PreACT to all their students. The PreACT assessments are designed to provide students with an indication of their educational progress in the context of preparing for the ACT and exploring post-secondary educational and career options. The PreACT assessments include four multiple-choice tests: English, Math, Reading, and Science.

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Reliability of English Learners’ Test Scores

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that English Learners (ELs) are included in annual state testing (grades 3-8 and once in high school) and included in each state’s accountability system disaggregated by subgroup to ensure that they receive the support they need to learn English, participate fully in their education experience, and graduate ready for college or career.

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Concordance of ACT Aspire and PreACT or ACT Test Scores

Concordance is used to align scores from two different tests that measure similar constructs; however, it does not result in score interchangeability and does not optimize prediction accuracy. Rather, concordance can be used to set comparable cut scores on two tests or to compare the performance of candidates who took different tests.

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ACT Section Retesting: Do Students Perform as Expected?

Beginning in September 2020, students will have the option to retake one or more sections of the ACT test (referred to as section retesting, modular testing, or single subject retesting), instead of needing to take the entire battery again.

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Promoting Career Readiness in Arkansas High Schools

The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) is focused on transforming Arkansas to lead the nation in student-focused education. To accomplish this vision, one of ADE’s goals is for each student to meet or exceed milestones along pathways to graduate high school prepared for college, career, and community engagement.

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Relating ACT Writing Scores to First-Year English Composition Grades

The optional ACT writing test is designed to measure students’ writing skills - specifically, those skills emphasized and acquired in high school English classes and important for success in entry-level college composition courses. The test was first introduced in 2005, and in fall 2015, a number of enhancements to the former version were introduced. 

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Effects of Social Emotional Learning Factors on Achievement Gains

This study investigated the moderating roles of motivation, social engagement, and self-regulation in predicting academic achievement in grades 11-12 for 3,281 7th-9th graders. Standardized assessments of college readiness (ACT Explore and the ACT test) and student self-report measures of social emotional learning factors (ACT Engage Grades 6-9) were used in the study.

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Validity Considerations for 10th-Grade ACT State and District Testing

States and districts have expressed interest in administering the ACT to 10th-grade students. Given that the ACT was designed to be administered in the spring of 11th grade or fall of 12th grade, the appropriateness of this use should be evaluated. As such, the focus of this paper is to summarize empirical evidence evaluating the use of the ACT as a measure of college readiness for 10th graders.

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Rural Students: Technology, Coursework, and Extracurricular Activities

Rural students are often overlooked when it comes to education policy reform. However, the majority of rural students in nearly half the states are from low-income families, generally earn lower scores on standardized high school assessments, lack access to rigorous coursework, and attend college at lower rates than do students from non-rural areas.

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Digital Divide and Educational Equity

Access to technology is essential to educational success as well as workforce and community development. However, geographical, income-based, and racial or ethnic disparities in technology access persist.

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Aligning ACT Tessera to the CASEL Framework

ACT Tessera is a comprehensive assessment system designed to measure five social and emotional skills. When developing ACT Tessera, the multitude of existing social and emotional skill frameworks were considered. Due to its many desirable features, the ACT Tessera development team adopted the Big Five taxonomy, the dominant personality trait model, as the organizing framework.

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Annual Changes in High School Average ACT Composite Scores

Schools, districts, and states frequently use ACT scores as indicators of school quality and progress over time. Small increases in school-level ACT outcomes are often met with celebration, or when they decrease, with concern. To facilitate assignment of meaning to such change, ACT has quantified school-level changes in outcomes by enabling comparison to one-year school-level change distributions.

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Global Assessment Certificate (GAC) Achievement

The Global Assessment Certificate (GAC) program helps international students develop the academic knowledge, learning practices, and English language skills required to enroll at universities and earn a bachelor’s degree. The GAC program includes three levels of instruction (Level I, Level II, and Level III), each entailing a combination of required and elective courses totalling 240 hours of classroom study plus 120 hours of independent study.

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Using ACT Online Prep To Improve Score Gains

Test preparation plays an important role in high-stakes standardized testing. While test preparation companies may claim large, at times unrealistic, gains associated with product use, much of which can be very costly, scientific research supports a more moderate impact of test preparation. These impacts should not, however, be understated as
even small improvements in test scores can make a difference for college admissions and scholarship eligibility.

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Adoption of ACT Aspire Periodic Assessments

This study examines the effects of adoption of ACT Aspire Periodic Assessments on student academic growth, as measured by the ACT Aspire Summative Assessments. A difference-in-difference analysis shows that adoption of the ACT Aspire Interim Assessments leads to improvements in academic growth.

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How Does Test Preparation Affect Retest Scores

A quasi-experimental method and test-retest design were used to explore the impact of participating in test preparation, whether the impact of test preparation depends on the first ACT score, and the impact of specific test preparation activities. Test preparation improved students’ retest scores, and this effect did not differ depending on students’ first ACT score.

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Relating ACT Aspire Scores to Performance in High School Courses

The report examines the relationships of ACT Aspire test scores and high school course grades, AP test scores, and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test scores, demonstrating criterion-related as well as convergent and discriminant validity evidence.

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