To better serve our customers and more effectively align with our strategic goals, ACT has fully integrated the National Center for Educational Achievement (NCEA) as an official part of the company.
“By bringing NCEA fully on board as an official part of ACT, we round out the family of integrated ACT solutions, creating a broader audience and a more comprehensive system that serves the K through Career continuum,” said Jon Erickson, ACT education president.
“In addition, the alignment of our two organizations provides more opportunities for team members across several areas to collaborate and share expertise. It’s a win-win.”
Most members of the former NCEA team continue to be based in ACT’s satellite office in Austin, Texas. They are now part of the Education Division’s Client Relations department. The office space in Austin is shared with ACT team members from the Test Development, IT, and Research departments.
NCEA began as Just for the Kids in 1996, in Austin. A nonprofit organization, the group later changed its name when it became a joint partnership with the University of Texas and the Education Commission of the States (ECS). In 2007, the NCEA was acquired by ACT, operating as a separate department until late 2011 when work began to integrate the organization into ACT.
As of this year, the NCEA name will no longer be used, except on the “NCEA Higher Performing Schools List” published annually for its data partnership states (Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas). In addition to the NCEA Higher Performing Schools List, partnership states are provided with College and Career Readiness Targets and Charts developed by former NCEA staff, who are now ACT team members. The participating state departments of education provide student assessment and demographic data for this research. Team members will also continue to provide research-based solutions and expertise in higher performing schools, school improvement, and best practice research that will lead to increased levels of college and career readiness.
The three research-based school improvement products (Core Practice Audit, CoreWork Diagnostics, and CoreWork Performance Reports), which have been branded as ACT products since 2012, will now support the K through Career continuum:
- ACT Core Practice Audit (CPA) is an objective, hands-on evaluation of district-level practices that provides an analysis of current teaching and learning practices, recommendations for improvement, and strategies for aligning practices with those of higher performing school systems.
- ACT CoreWork Diagnostics (CWD) is an online tool that allows school and district leaders to compare their teaching and learning practices to those of higher performing school systems. The resulting report allows educators to pinpoint strengths and challenges at all levels.
- ACT CoreWork Performance Reports (CWPR) provide valuable data pictures of student state assessment performance within partnership states. Available by school or district, CWPR include quantitative information in a clear and concise format by way of a unique set of data pictures otherwise inaccessible to most schools and districts.
These products provide a long-term, systemic approach to school improvement planning, meeting Common Core State Standards, and placing more students on the path to college and career readiness. In addition, former NCEA researchers will continue to develop projects and author research papers essential to ACT’s strategic goals. ACT marketing and communications staff are also working together to incorporate key pages of the NCEA website into the ACT website.