The ACT®

Stay current on what's next for the ACT

Stay current on
What's Next for the ACT

Innovation and Continuous Improvement

. . . without the need for radical change

At ACT, we apply innovation at a responsible pace, always keeping our clients in mind.

As we enhance and improve the ACT® college readiness assessment, our approach:

  • keeps the ACT consistently relevant
  • ensures we are meeting the needs of the people we serve
  • continually strengthens the research that makes the ACT so effective
  • eliminates the need for radical change

We know the ACT has significant impact on people’s lives. Because of this, we work hard to avoid unnecessary risks that might come with large-scale changes or total product reinvention. We conduct ongoing research to inform the content of the ACT and we continually improve usability with the reporting, methods, and technology most needed—and most requested—by our clients.

Stay current with what’s next for the ACT. This site is designed to provide ongoing details about enhancements to the ACT. Sign up to receive periodic updates.

The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2014

August 20, 2014

Each year, ACT provides an analysis of the college and career readiness of US high school graduates. Our newest report, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2014, was just released today.

More than 1.84 million 2014 graduates—a record 57 percent of the national graduating class—took the ACT. This is a 3 percent increase from 2013 (despite a smaller total number of U.S. graduates nationally) and an 18 percent increase compared to 2010. This was the 10th consecutive year that the number of ACT-tested graduates reached a new record total.

View the national report and/or key findings for your state.


Tools for an Intuitive Online Testing Experience

July 31, 2014

One of the exciting enhancements coming to the ACT® is the option for students to test via computer. A variety of tools and features are available to make online testing an intuitive experience. These include:


  • Answer Eliminator Tool. This tool enables students to use the process of elimination as they answer test questions. The tool applies an “x” to an answer option if the student chooses to rule it out.
  • Flag Button. With this feature, students can flag questions they may want to review again before submitting their answers. The Flag Button marks questions so they can easily be revisited.
  • Review Button. When the Review Button is clicked, a Test Overview screen appears for the subject test students are completing. The screen allows students to see which questions they have answered, not answered, or flagged for review. This helps them to easily navigate back to specific questions.
  • Magnifier Tool. Students can use this tool to magnify portions of their screen. The size of the text can also be adjusted.
  • Onscreen Clock. The Onscreen Clock helps students manage their time during testing.

A student who participated in the spring 2014 study for the first college-reportable online administration of the ACT appreciated the Onscreen Clock feature, saying, “I loved that the time I had left was being counted down right in front of me. It allowed me to pace myself for the whole test at a comfortable speed.”

The online version of the ACT will be offered to select schools that participate in State and District testing starting in 2015, with expanded availability for ACT State and District testing in spring 2016.


A look ahead at the ACT:


New Readiness Indicators

The familiar 1-to-36 scores used on the ACT will not change. However, starting in 2015, students who take the ACT test also will receive new readiness scores and indicators designed to show performance and preparedness in areas important to success after high school.


The new readiness scores and indicators will give students, parents, and educators more detailed insights to better plan for future success. They include:

  • STEM Score—This score will represent the student’s overall performance on the science and math portions of the exam. The ACT is the only national college admission exam to measure science skills ( Developing strong science and math skills opens doors for students to take interesting courses and pursue engaging college majors that may lead to rewarding STEM careers in the future.
  • Progress Toward Career Readiness Indicator—This measure will help students understand their progress toward career readiness and help educators prepare their students for success in a variety of career pathways. It will provide an indicator of future performance on the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate™ (ACT NCRC®), an assessment-based credential that certifies foundational work skills important for job success across industries and occupations.
  • English Language Arts Score—This score will combine achievement on the English, reading, and writing portions of the ACT for those who take all three sections, enabling students to see how their performance compares with others who have been identified as college ready. A student must take the optional Writing Test to receive this score.
  • Text Complexity Progress Indicator—This indicator will tell students if they are making sufficient progress toward understanding the complex texts they will encounter in college and during their careers.


Optional Constructed-Response Questions


ACT will offer schools a separate constructed-response battery of questions as an option to supplement the traditional multiple-choice sections of the ACT. Constructed-response questions require students to enter their own answer, rather than selecting the best answer from several given choices.

Similar to how class rank and student grades provide information for colleges to use in their admissions process, constructed-response scores provide additional student-generated evidence that can be helpful in making inferences about student achievement. These questions will allow schools, districts, and states to better align their reporting with the Common Core State Standards.

Constructed-response results will not be included in the ACT Composite score because they are optional.

See the Optional Constructed-Response Questions FAQs for more information.


Online Administration


As ACT focuses on enhancing student engagement and expanding college access for all, we plan to offer a new way for students to take the ACT test—via computer. In April 2014, ACT offered the first-ever computer-based administration of a national undergraduate college admission exam with college-reportable scores. Approximately 4,000 high school students across the United States participated in this administration, which has generated positive feedback from participating test center supervisors and students.

The digital version of the ACT will be offered to select schools that participate in state and district testing starting in 2015, with expanded release as an option for ACT state and district testing in spring 2016.

See the Online Testing FAQs for more information.


Enhanced ACT Writing Test


Based on our research and evidence, we plan to enhance the optional ACT Writing Test in 2015 to emphasize student ability to evaluate multiple perspectives on a complex issue and generate an analysis based on reasoning, knowledge, and experience.

The Writing Test will remain an optional essay test with a single prompt. The scoring will move from holistic, single-score reporting to analytic reporting of four domain scores (ideas and analysis, development and support, organization, and language use) to provide better information about college and career readiness.

Content specifications for the enhanced Writing Test will be released later this summer. Sign up to receive updates and to be notified when this information is available.

See the Enhancements to the Writing Test FAQs for more information.


New Reporting Categories


For 2016, ACT has planned an expanded number of reporting categories, compared to the current subscore categories, with breakdowns provided for every subject. The reporting categories are based on the ACT College Readiness Standards and are aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

The additional information will make it easier for students, parents, and educators to understand the makeup of any subject score and see their strengths and areas for improvement.

See the Enhanced Reporting FAQs for more information.


Stay current with what’s next for the ACT. This site is designed to provide ongoing details about enhancements to the ACT. Sign up to receive periodic updates.