Instructional Resources

Educator's Guide

The Educator's Guide provides practical information on how all the instructional resources are intended to be used. It includes activities to guide educators in comparing their current instructional materials with the ACT QualityCore materials, which reflect a data-based, proven approach to rigorous instruction.

ACT Course Standards

The ACT Course Standards allow you to align your curriculum with the key essential skills students need to be prepared for postsecondary education or workforce training programs.

ACT Course Standards were empirically derived from an intensive study of high-performing high schools with significant minority and low-income enrollments. The study, On Course for Success: A Close Look at Selected High School Courses That Prepare All Students for College, was conducted jointly by ACT and The Education Trust.

Each set of Course Standards, reviewed and cross-validated by a selection of classroom teachers in high-performing schools across the country, covers the important knowledge and skills of the discipline—the essential ideas that students must master if they are to have a firm grasp of the field.

The ACT Course Standards

  • Introduce knowledge and skills in an appropriate sequence
  • Show an increasing intellectual sophistication with each subsequent course
  • Represent what is manageable in terms of instruction

Teachers can analyze their courses by comparing their course content to the ACT Course Standards.

Course Description and Syllabus

Each Course Description and Syllabus describes the pedagogical strategies that make a course rigorous, define course content, and set forth classroom policies that encourage learning.

Course Outline/Instructional Units Plan

Each Course Outline/Instructional Units Plan suggests a sequence for a yearlong course so that all ACT Course Standards will be covered, showing the standards to be covered by unit.

Model Instructional Unit

Each Model Instructional Unit illustrates how the ACT Course Standards are connected to instruction and can be delivered in the classroom. Teachers may use as is, as a model to assess the quality of existing units, or as a resource for developing new units.

Guidelines for Developing an Instructional Unit

Each Guidelines for Developing Instructional Units provides a step-by-step process for designing instruction for specific learning goals, student needs, student characteristics, and learning contexts.

Test Blueprint

Each Test Blueprint describes the thinking skills and content that are measured by the questions in the end-of-course assessment, so that curricula and interim assessments may be aligned with the key essential skills that will be measured.

  • Two 45-minute test sessions—multiple choice and constructed response, or multiple choice only
  • Computer-based or paper-and-pencil format
  • Standards-based reporting

Results support informed decisions: each assessment will report a total score and three to five diagnostic subscores associated with the ACT Course Standards. These subscores enable educators to drill down to specific areas of strength and weakness in student learning.