There are four distinct users of EXPLORE score reports and data:
- Students in eighth and ninth grades who take the assessment.
- Parents/families of these students who gain early insight into students' level of preparedness for college and career by high school graduation.
- Educators who identify areas of academic risk, allowing for early intervention. Teachers and counselors may use EXPLORE results as a valuable advising tool when reviewing students’ academic progress.
- District and school administrators who receive reports designed to help them advance student achievement and improve instructional tools.
- EXPLORE is a curriculum-based achievement exam that measures the skills and knowledge that are taught in schools and deemed important for success in first-year coursework at postsecondary institutions.
- EXPLORE serves as the entry measure of academic progress in ACT’s College and Career Readiness System, which also inlcudes PLAN®, the ACT®, Engage™, and QualityCore®
- Through EXPLORE, students’ strengths and weaknesses can be identified early in their educational development, when they have the greatest opportunity to establish a four-year program of studies that will help them achieve their career and educational goals.
- EXPLORE reports provide the first step toward longitudinal student monitoring starting in the eighth grade and continuing through high school when followed by PLAN in tenth grade and the ACT exam in eleventh or twelfth grades.
- With the emphasis on universal standards, EXPLORE data can help align curriculum to the Common Core State Standards.
EXPLORE comprises subject area tests in:
- English (40 questions, 30 minutes)
- Mathematics (30 questions, 30 minutes)
- Reading (30 questions, 30 minutes)
- Science (28 questions, 30 minutes)
Volume/Number of Users
Number of eighth- and ninth-grade students who took EXPLORE:
Growth in usage over the above five-year period: 41.4%
- Each of the four subject area tests is multiple choice in format.
- Each of the four subject area tests is scored on a scale of 1–25. A composite EXPLORE score is provided, along with an estimated range the student is likely to score on PLAN in tenth grade if he/she continues on the same academic path.
- EXPLORE is ordered and administered by schools or school districts. The guidance counselor at the school may know whether EXPLORE is offered to eighth- and/or ninth-grade students in that school.
- EXPLORE includes an interest inventory that asks questions about the types of work tasks students would/would not like to do. This career exploration component is designed to stimulate students’ thinking about future plans and helps them explore personally relevant career options.
- EXPLORE standards, like all ACT College Readiness Standards, are aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
- Students who take EXPLORE and PLAN earn higher average scores on the ACT test than those who don’t.
The individual score report provided to students and their families indicates for each of the four subject areas:
- How many questions were answered correctly
- How many questions were omitted (there is no penalty for guessing, so an omitted item is marked as incorrect)
- How many questions were answered incorrectly
- Prescriptive suggestions on how to improve each of the key skills measured by EXPLORE
- How the student’s EXPLORE score in each subject area compares to established benchmark scores (below / at / above) indicating the likelihood of being ready for first-year college courses