ACT College and Career Readiness Standards

Giving clearer meaning to test scores - what sets ACT assessments apart.

About the Standards

The ACT College and Career Readiness Standards® are the backbone of ACT assessments. The standards are empirically derived descriptions of the essential skills and knowledge students need to become ready for college and career, giving clear meaning to test scores and serving as a link between what students have learned and what they are ready to learn next. Parents, teachers, counselors, and students use the standards to:

  • Communicate widely shared learning goals and expectations
  • Relate test scores to the skills needed in high school and beyond
  • Understand the increasing complexity of skills needed across the score ranges in English, mathematics, reading, science, and writing
  • The standards encompass the many paths available to students after high school, and they reflect our ability to provide insights related to both college and career readiness.


Download the set of English Standards (PDF, 12 pages) and English Curriculum Review Worksheets (PDF, 8 pages).

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Download the set of Mathematics Standards (PDF, 12 pages) and Mathematics Curriculum Review Worksheets (PDF, 11 pages).

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Download the set of Reading Standards (PDF, 21 pages) and Reading Curriculum Review Worksheets (PDF, 9 pages).

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Download the set of Science Standards (PDF, 7 pages) and Science Curriculum Review Worksheets (PDF, 5 pages).

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Download the set of Writing Standards (PDF, 5 pages) and Writing Curriculum Review Worksheets (PDF, 1 page).

View the standards online:


Research 2015

Validity Research

Ongoing Process of Validity Research at ACT

ACT is committed to validity research. The first type of validity research ACT conducts is content validity, designed to answer the following question: Does a test measure what it aims to measure? This essentially involves the validation of the ACT College and Career Readiness Standards, which are built on a foundation of years of empirical data.

Tools used in the validation process include the ACT National Curriculum Survey®. The Survey helps to inform the test blueprint for the assessments (see figure, below). Results from the assessments are used to validate the ACT College and Career Readiness Standards, as well as the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks. (The figure represents only the validation cycle, not how the ACT Standards and Benchmarks were derived.)

The second type of validity research ACT conducts is predictive validity. This research uses data about actual course performance to answer a second question: Does a test predict performance in a reliable way?

Constant monitoring enables ACT to ensure that—for ACT assessments at least—the answer to the questions of content validity and predictive validity is “yes.” We continually use research and performance results to inform the changes we will make to test blueprints, the ACT College and Career Readiness Standards, and the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks.


National Curriculum Survey

Examining Educational Practices and Expectations

Conducted every three to five years by ACT, the ACT National Curriculum Survey collects data about what entering college students should know and be able to do to be ready for college-level coursework in English, math, reading, and science.