ACT Advancing Lives

In this issue

US Students Aren’t Ready for College and Career

Success in college and career is at risk for a large percentage of likely college-bound 2012 US high school graduates. Each year ACT releases The Condition of College & Career Readiness report, which provides information about how graduating seniors performed on the ACT test. More than 1.66 million 2012 graduates—52 percent of the entire US graduating class—took the exam. For the class of 2012, ACT research showed that:

Just 25 percent of 2012 ACT-tested high school graduates met or surpassed all four of the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks. These benchmarks are minimum scores needed on an ACT subject-area test (English, Mathematics, Science, or Reading) to indicate a 50 percent chance of earning a B or higher or a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in a typical first-year college course in that subject area.

A total of 60 percent of ACT-tested 2012 graduates met no more than two of the four College Readiness Benchmarks.

More than a fourth (28 percent) did not meet any of ACT’s four College Readiness Benchmarks.

The national average composite score this year was 21.1.

The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest possible score.

The percent of graduates ready to succeed in college coursework remains the highest in English (67 percent).
That percentage is followed by reading (52 percent), mathematics (46 percent), and science (31 percent). State-level initiatives related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) might have helped improve students’ readiness in math and science slightly.

A record number of test takers took the ACT.
A record 52 percent of the entire US graduating class took the ACT, including virtually all students in nine states. This represents a record level of participation for the eighth consecutive year.

The majority of graduates seek to attain at least a two-year postsecondary degree.
About 87 percent of all 2012 ACT-tested high school graduates aspired to attain at least a two-year postsecondary degree, regardless of race/ethnicity.

For more information, please read the national report or your state report.

New ACT Test Registration Procedures

Starting this school year, students who want to take the ACT test will be required to upload a recognizable photo of themselves to complete the registration process. The photo will be printed on the student’s ACT ticket, which is required for admission on test day, and on the roster that testing staff use to check students in. This change is being made to increase test security measures and ensure a level and fair playing field for all students who take the ACT.

Photos can be submitted with a computer or a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. Students who aren’t able to submit a photo electronically can send in a hard copy paper photo through the mail.

ACT—like the vast majority of students—understands the importance of honest test scores. We also know the importance of ensuring that students maintain access to the educational opportunities that the ACT test provides. Our enhanced procedures will help us continue to achieve both objectives.

Complete details about the photo upload process, including frequently asked questions, are available on the ACT Student website.

Preparing Students for College and Twenty-First Century Careers

You may have recently read or heard about ACT’s next generation assessment system in the news, including Forbes Magazine, The Huffington Post, and Fox Business.

This first-of-a-kind digital assessment system:

  • Connects student performance from early elementary grades to high school.
  • Measures students’ achievement and behaviors relative to goals.
  • Helps students, parents, and teachers know whether students are on track for becoming college and career ready.
  • Provides insights on how to build on students’ strengths and address weaknesses, both in and out of the classroom.
  • Links to ACT’s College Readiness Standards and Benchmarks.
  • Offers an integrated, multidimensional approach to college and career readiness.
Anchored by the ACT test, the system will 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.

More information about our next generation assessment system—including its official name—will be forthcoming. ACT Parent will keep you up to date. In the meantime, check out our website for more details.

Helping Juniors Plan Ahead

If you’re a parent of a high school junior, you may be wondering what you can do to help prepare your student for life after high school. Here are a few tips:

Talk and listen. You have an influence on your student’s decision-making process more than you realize. Keep the lines of communication open and find out your student’s interests, goals, and aspirations.

Explore. The junior year is the perfect time to investigate colleges and careers. Encourage your teen to attend college fairs, visit college campuses, and gain work experience through volunteer activities or jobs.

Focus. Juniors have time to gain ground if they’ve been slacking or to take more challenging courses to better meet college or workplace training requirements. Encourage your student to maintain good grades, as colleges will be paying close attention to the junior and senior years.

Connect. A strong relationship with a school counselor can keep your student on track for college and career readiness. Persuade your teen to discuss career and educational plans with a school counselor.

Learn. Attending financial and scholarship presentations while your student is a junior will help you to be more prepared and have fewer surprises than if you wait until your student is a senior. Take advantage of these presentations when they are offered at your student’s high school.

Grow. Colleges and employers seek people who are well rounded. Help your teen gain knowledge and experience though college prep courses, extracurricular activities, community service opportunities, job shadows, or work training programs.

Prepare. High school students should register to take the ACT test sometime around the spring of their junior year. Test dates and registration deadlines are listed at the end of this newsletter. Taking rigorous high school courses is the best preparation, but your student may also benefit from free and low-cost prep tools.

2012-2013 ACT Test Date Schedule

Test Date Registration Deadline (Late Fee Required)
October 27, 2012 September 21, 2012 September 22-October 5, 2012
December 8, 2012 November 2, 2012 November 3-16, 2012
February 9, 2013* January 11, 2013 January 12-18, 2013
April 13, 2013 March 8, 2013 March 9-22, 2013
June 8, 2013 May 3, 2013 May 4-17, 2013

*No test centers are scheduled in New York for the February test date.

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Copyright © 2012 ACT, Inc., All rights reserved.