Whitmore: ACT poised to help millions reach new educational and career heights

With “One ACT” banners hanging behind him, ACT Chairman Carl Cohn kicked off the 2013 ACT Annual Meeting on Oct. 29 in Iowa City.

Cohn shared his experience volunteering in a first-grade classroom. “Simply put, it will be of no value to issue a report in 10 or 11 years telling us that these little first graders are not ready for college and career,” Cohn said. “What will be valuable are formative assessments with interventions—right now—that will rescue these kids that I care so much about and the rest of the nation cares so much about.”

Cohn then introduced ACT CEO Jon Whitmore, who praised ACT team members for helping the organization own “a clear competitive advantage”—and create “a clear bold strategy for the future.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAACT CEO Jon Whitmore presents a recap of ACT’s successes of the past year and a glimpse into what lies ahead during the ACT annual meeting held on October 29.

“ACT is poised to help millions more young people and adults reach new heights of educational and career success,” Whitmore said.

He then praised the board of directors, inviting them to stand and be recognized. He also praised the ACT state representatives, calling them “ACT’s eyes and ears in the field.

“Every day they see how our solutions affect the students to whom they have devoted their professional lives.”

Whitmore outlined ACT accomplishments over the past year, including:

  • An aggressive advancement of the strategic plan,
  • An organizational structure aligned to leverage our collective strengths,
  • A record number of high school graduates who took the ACT® college readiness assessment (1.8 million or 54 percent of all high school students in America),
  • Testing virtually every high school graduate in 13 states,
  • More than 1.4 million middle and high school students participating in ACT Plan® and more than 1.6 million in ACT Explore®,
  • Testing more than 300,00 students with ACT QualityCore®,
  • Testing nearly 80,000 students with ACT Engage®,
  • Passing the 2-million mark in earned ACT National Career Readiness Certificates, and
  • Partnering with Pearson to support ACT Aspire™.

Whitmore called the ACT test development staff, who created and field-tested new assessments for grades 3 through 10, the “true heroes” this year.

He noted that a new cloud-based version of ACT Compass® is about to be launched, and that the ACT test itself will be available in digital form for in-school use in 2015.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore than 1,100 ACT team members, board members, ACT state representatives, and other guests heard an impassioned speech by a leading expert on education reform, Alberto M. Carvalho, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (Florida) superintendent.

Keynote speaker Miami-Dade County Public Schools (Florida) Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho received a standing ovation for his speech, in which he shared the successes of his district, the changing nature of society as exemplified by Miami-Dade County, and the challenges and opportunities those changes present.

ACT President of Education and Career Solutions Jon Erickson also spoke, saying he joined ACT “almost 210 dog years ago” because he believed in the mission and the people of ACT. Quoting Theodore Roosevelt, Erickson said, “Far and away, the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

Echoing Roosevelt and Whitmore, Erickson added, “To me that summarizes why I spent 210 dog years here, and hopefully why everyone in this room does what we do. Because it is work worth doing, we can make a difference, and we have made a difference.”

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