ACT to Launch Next Generation College and Career Readiness Assessment System Aligned To Common Core State Standards and More

Posted July 02, 2012

IOWA CITY, Iowa—ACT, Inc., the nonprofit leader in college and career readiness assessment, today announced its plan to launch a “next generation” assessment system spanning early elementary grades through high school. The new system will advance ACT’s mission of helping people achieve education and workplace success by providing students, parents and educators with the information they need to know whether students are on track for success in college and 21st century careers.

ACT is developing the new system to address the gap between the skills students are learning in school and the skills they will need to succeed in college and careers in the increasingly competitive global economy. ACT research indicates that assessment and intervention provided earlier in students’ academic careers improves their chances of succeeding in school and reaching their college and career goals.

The new system—anchored by the organization’s flagship college and career readiness exam, the ACT®—will offer an integrated, multidimensional approach to college and career readiness that focuses on measuring achievements and behavior relative to goals. It will be the first digital, longitudinal assessment system to fully connect student performance from early elementary to high school, helping students know exactly where they are and providing insights on how to build on strengths and address weaknesses, both in and out of the classroom. The system will be linked to ACT’s industry-leading College Readiness Standards™ and Benchmarks.

“ACT wants to elevate testing to achieve the higher purpose we established when the company was founded in 1959—providing critical information to guide students along their journeys toward success in school and their future work lives,” said Jon Whitmore, ACT’s chief executive officer. “Periodic assessment of what students have learned, starting early in their academic career, will help them, their parents and educators know what steps they must take to stay on the right path. ACT’s next generation assessment system will be designed to accomplish this.”

The new ACT system will be aligned with the Common Core State Standards, which draw heavily from ACT’s College Readiness Standards and research. It will also measure other critical areas needed for success after high school, providing insights on science skills and offering career readiness measures and planning elements that prepare students to graduate ready for both college and career.

“This next generation system builds upon and extends ACT’s core mission, serving as a natural progression from our established education and workforce assessment programs including the ACT and WorkKeys®,” said Jon Erickson, ACT’s president of education.

To offer the latest technological capabilities and features, delivered digitally to millions of students across the U.S., ACT is partnering on this initiative with Pearson, the global leader in education technology and publishing. The new system will leverage ACT’s more than 50 years of experience in educational assessment and research and more than 20 years of experience in workforce assessment and solutions. It will be delivered using state-of-the-art, digital platforms.

“The combined strength of ACT’s leadership in college and career readiness and educational assessment and Pearson’s technology expertise makes this new system a game changer for states as they work to prepare more students for college and careers,” said Terry Holliday, Kentucky’s commissioner of education.

“Pearson is driven to create the educational technologies that power the smart classrooms of today and the future for millions of students,” said Karamjeet Singh, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Pearson Assessment and Information. “We are proud our technologies create the platform for launching one of the most rigorous, flexible and cohesive educational assessment systems in the world.”

To learn more about ACT’s new next generation assessment system, please visit