ACT Aspire Fall Testing Options for the New School Year

Filling the Gap and Setting a Baseline for 2020-2021

Following the interruption of schooling due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the ACT® Aspire® Summative Assessments were cancelled for spring 2020. Going into the 2020-2021 academic year, standard-based measures of student achievement are needed more than ever.  Because learning gains (or losses) during the shutdown period are expected to vary considerably student-to-student, measures of student achievement are particularly important heading into 2020-2021. Fall test scores reflect the net impact of learning that occurred through 2019-2020, summer learning loss and additional loss caused by the school shutdowns, and any positive effects of shutdown mitigation efforts (such as online learning or starting school early in the fall). 

Assuming that schooling resumes in fall 2020, schools that normally test students in the fall are not impacted and can maintain their assessment schedules. Schools that normally test students in the spring have different options for assessing students upon their return. Below are three options to use the ACT® Aspire® Assessment System® in the fall of 2020 for schools to help students succeed, and help educators get the data needed to understand students' learning needs. 

On-Demand Webinar - ACT Aspire: Filling the Gap and Setting a Baseline for 2020-2021

In this free, on-demand webinar, ACT experts explain the three ACT Aspire testing options for fall of 2020.

 

Using ACT Aspire Summative, students can be tested at the grade level from the previous academic year. This option may be preferred for schools that wish to keep longitudinal score histories intact and maintain their uses of ACT Aspire scores to:

  • Identify students in need of additional instructional support for the coming academic year
  • Report progress toward college and career readiness, including predicted ACT scores
  • Monitor school and district performance from year to year
  • Measure growth from spring 2019 to fall 2020 (moved from spring 2020), and from fall 2020 (moved from spring 2020), and to spring 2021. The sample report below shows how scores from three test administrations would appear on a student’s spring 2021 report, keeping a student’s longitudinal score history intact for grades 5-7.

Under this option, the fall 2020 test scores would be treated like spring 2020 test scores. This may be a good approach if the number of instructional days (from the beginning of the 2019–2020 academic year to the fall 2020 test) is similar to the number of instructional days that would have happened prior to the spring 2020 test had it not been canceled. This option also supports schools that attempt to complete their grade/course objectives from 2019–2020 (through online, summer, and early fall instruction) before embarking on new objectives (and new courses) for 2020–2021.

Under this option, the fall 2020 test scores would be treated like spring 2020 test scores. This may be a good approach if the number of instructional days (from the beginning of the 2019–2020 academic year to the fall 2020 test) is similar to the number of instructional days that would have happened prior to the spring 2020 test had it not been canceled. This option also supports schools that attempt to complete their grade/course objectives from 2019–2020 (through online, summer, and early fall instruction) before embarking on new objectives (and new courses) for 2020–2021. 

ACT provides lookup tables for Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs) that can be applied to students who test approximately one year apart and one grade level apart. The SGP lookup tables could be used under this option to measure growth from spring 2019 to fall 2020, and again from fall 2020 to spring 2021, treating the fall 2020 score as a spring 2020 score.

 

 

Another option is to use ACT Aspire Summative to test students in the fall of 2020 at their current grade level. Like Option 1, this allows schools that normally test in the spring to identify students in need of additional instructional support for the coming academic year, and to report progress toward college and career readiness. Because the test would normally be administered at the end of the school year, it may cover some content that has not yet been introduced or reinforced through instruction that occurs during the school year.

Unlike Option 1, this option does not keep students’ longitudinal score histories intact because it results in a missing grade level. Further, this option makes it more challenging to monitor performance from year to year and to maintain continuity with growth measurements over time. Assuming students test again in spring 2021, the spring 2021 test score would replace the fall 2020 test score on student progress reports. 

The figure shows two sample ACT Aspire score reports. The first report is titled “Option 2 Fall 2020 Student Report”. It is a line graph with grade level ranging from 3 to 10 on the horizontal axis and test score ranging from 400 to 460 on the vertical axis. Two score points are plotted, showing that a student’s performance improved from grade 5 to grade 7. The figure indicates that the 6th grade score is missing. The second report is titled “Option 2 Spring 2021 Student Report”. It is a line graph with grade level ranging from 3 to 10 on the horizontal axis and test score ranging from 400 to 460 on the vertical axis. Two score points are plotted, showing that a student’s performance improved from grade 5 to grade 7. The figure indicates that the spring 7th grade score replaces the fall 7th grade score. 

To support schools with this option, ACT plans to provide SGP lookup tables for students who test spring-to-fall two grade levels apart (e.g, 5th grade spring 2019 to 7th grade fall 2020) and for students who test in fall and spring of the same academic year (e.g., 7th grade fall 2020 to 7th grade spring 2021).

Under this option, ACT Aspire Summative assessments are not administered in fall 2020. Instead, schools use the ACT Aspire Interim assessments as the baseline measure of academic achievement. As an added support Perioidc assessments can be admistered at home to support blended learning.  Schools can use the Interim assessments, at home or in the classroom, to identify students in need of additional instructional support for the coming academic year, and to monitor progress throughout the academic year.  Students could take the ACT Aspire Interim assessments at their 2019-2020 grade level early in the year (e.g., September) while they are trying to catch up or complete objectives from spring 2020, and then test at their 2020-2021 grade level later in the year.  Or, schools could test students entirely at their 2020-2021 grade level.  Students would then resume summative testing in spring 2021.

For schools that normally use the Interim assessments, this option may not entail anything new, other than possibly testing students off-grade level early in the year.  For schools that do not normally use the Interim assessments, this option would fill some of the void left by missing the summative assessment, and those schools could realize additional benefits of using the Interim assessments.  Under this option, schools lose a year of data from ACT Aspire Summative, causing a disruption in progress monitoring and growth measurements made year to year.


Aspire Fall 2020 Comparison Options Chart
 

Features and Benefits

Fall 2020 Testing Options
Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
  Assessment type Summative Summative
Interim
  Assess at spring 2020 or fall 2020 grade level? Spring 2020 Fall 2020 Either or both
  Provide baseline data to determine students’ needs
  Keep longitudinal score history intact    
  Report ACT, PreACT, and NCRC predictions  
  Monitor system performance year-to-year  
  Maintain growth measures, use Student Growth Percentiles  
  Early testing window → early access to baseline data/data to fill gaps
  One-day turnaround for reporting
   
  Use with spring 2021 Summative testing
  Use with Option 3 or as stand-alone option
  At-home Testing    
 
                 
        
     Secondary option to Option 1

Ready to create a stronger start for your students?

Getting Started with ACT Aspire

We encourage you to learn more about the value of delivering ACT Aspire assessments by completing our information request form. Upon completing the request, an ACT representative will reach out to you to discuss the program.

With both summative and periodic assessments available, ACT Aspire can be administered in a number of ways to meet the needs of your students. Special “bundled” pricing is available when the summative and periodic assessments are purchased together.

ACT Aspire Periodic $10.00 per student
Summative Online Testing $25.00 per student
Summative Paper Testing $31.00 per student
Summative Options Printed Individual Student Reports: $1.50
Printed Individual Score Labels: $0.50
Summative Order 400-1,000 students: $1.00 off/Student
Order over 1,000 students: $2.00 off/Student
When Summative and Periodic ordered during same school year: $2.00 off/Student (applied to Summative)

Two test windows are available for ACT Aspire Summative testing each year: One window in the fall and one window in the spring. The ACT Aspire Summative assessment is a computer-delivered test. However, it can be delivered via paper-and-pencil testing for an additional fee. The periodic assessments are CBT only.

Test Session Agreement Deadline Testing Window
Aspire Periodic 2020-2021 NA Sept 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021
ACT Aspire Summative Fall 2020 October 9, 2020 Sept 1, 2020 - Nov 20, 2020
ACT Aspire Summative Spring 2021 April 9, 2021 March 29, 2021 - May 21, 2021