America’s Choice and ACT, Inc., Announce Partnership

Posted July 21, 2008

IOWA CITY, Iowa—Two educational leaders are joining together to improve educational opportunities for high school students by providing schools with the only instructional improvement program that offers professional development and course curriculum targeted towards college readiness standards. ACT and America’s Choice made the announcement in conjunction with their 2-day symposium entitled, “A Closer Look at Instruction” held in southern California. The combined capabilities of each organization will bring an unprecedented system of support to strengthen instruction in high school core courses targeted at increasing the number of high school graduates who are prepared for college and a successful career.

This new partnership between ACT and America’s Choice, best known for their Navigator and Ramp-Up intervention programs, represents logical next steps for both organizations in their efforts to help schools to improve their high school courses as well as prepare more students to be ready for these courses when they enter high school.

“This partnership is a natural blend of the expertise of America’s Choice and our capabilities,” said Cyndie Schmeiser, President and COO of ACT’s Education Division. “Together, we will be redefining rigor in the classroom by raising the quality and intensity of core courses and providing teachers the support they need to prepare students to be ready for college and career after high school.”

“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with ACT, an organization with which we share the same values in meeting the needs for both educators and students. In doing this, we’re forming an offering that is unmatched in the industry and a partnership that is poised to do great things for all of our students,” said Judy Codding, President and CEO, America’s Choice. “We’re looking forward to an important partnership with ACT where we can collaborate with states and districts to best serve the needs of their students and teachers.”

Both organizations offer proven research-based services. America’s Choice provides years of experience working with state, district and school leaders and teachers in over 2,000 schools to improve the performance of students and provide high quality professional development for teachers. ACT has defined the elements of rigorous courses based on years of research on high performing high schools serving under-represented students and validated by schools throughout the nation. These schools have served as models of how high standards can be successfully implemented. This combined research and experience that both organizations bring will result in services to schools, districts, states and ultimately students that greatly enhance efforts designed to prepare all students for college and career.

In a policy report released in 2007, Rigor at Risk, ACT cited research results that only 1 in 4 high school graduates who had taken a core curriculum in high school were ready for credit-bearing college-entry coursework. Citing problems in state graduation standards, watered-down curriculum, and the lack of clarity about what students need to learn in high school core courses, ACT called for improving the quality of high school core courses as a critical national educational priority. Compounding the problem, according to a recent report from the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, is the fact that only 52 percent of students in the public school systems of the 50 largest cities complete high school with a diploma.