Welcome to the Administrator Newsletter
Each month we’ll share information about important upcoming deadlines and events, professional development opportunities, new research, product updates, and ACT assessment news.
- ACT District Testing in 2018-2019
- Personalized Help from ACT Experts
- Google Careers Focused on Social and Emotional Learning Skills
- The Positive Effect of Teaching Social and Emotional Learning Skills
- Belief in Educators, Students, and Families Leads to Higher Achievement
- Webinar: Comprehensive Assessment Planning
- Upcoming Events
- Updated ACT Aspire Reports
- Frequently Asked Questions About ACT Aspire
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- REDUCED Price: For the 2018-2019 school year, the price for ACT District Testing will be REDUCED for all school districts nationwide. Additional discounts will be available for districts with 50-100% of students who qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program (FRLP). More pricing information here.
- FREE ACT Test Prep: ACT Academy is a FREE online ACT test prep tool for students with official ACT practice tests, the world’s leading collection of online learning resources, and personalized, self-guided plans based on test results from PreACT® and the ACT® test. In the 2018-19 school year, ACT Academy will feature classroom integration resources for your educators.
- Online Reporting: ACT is launching a new dynamic online reporting system. A pilot was started last fall, and online reporting will be available for all ACT District Testing customers in the 2018-19 school year.
- English Learner Accommodations: English learner (EL) supports are available on the ACT test to US students. The goal of the supports is to help ensure that the ACT scores earned by English learners accurately reflect what they have learned in school. Scores from these tests are college reportable.
ACT is currently developing a consulting program to work with schools and districts on a range of solutions, beginning with services in Social and Emotional Learning:
- A one-day on-site “boot-camp” for district and school leadership
- An eight-week engagement around advancing your SEL programming with ACT® Tessera™ and the Teacher Playbook, including creating a Theory of Action, drawing insights from Tessera data, using SEL K-12 Standards from ACT, and a two day, train-the-trainer program for teacher professional development
- Broader SEL program planning
ACT Consulting will later include, Assessment for Learning Excellence (such as formative assessment best practices, aligning classroom tasks and grading, and Webb DOK 3 and 4 levels), Standards Alignment and the Holistic Framework, and Data Integration, Analysis, and Action Planning.
Ten years ago, an internal research team at Google set out to identify the common characteristics and skills of their most successful managers. The results were surprising—soft skills are more important than key technical skills. In fact, the top seven qualities of success at Google are soft skills:
- Being a good coach
- Empowering team members
- Creating an inclusive team environment, showing concern for success and well-being
- Being productive and results oriented
- Being a good communicator
- Supporting career development and discussing performance
- Having a clear vision/strategy for the team
- Having key technical skills to help advise the team
By sharing the findings across the company and training managers on these behaviors, Google has seen improvement in team outcomes like turnover, job satisfaction, and performance over time. With the success of this project, Google applied a similar research method to determine the key characteristics and skills of effective teams. They discovered that the qualities that impact team effectiveness are nearly the same as those that make a good manager, including confidence, curiosity, and reliability.
Google’s successful management and team qualities closely align to the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills that are increasingly being taught and measured in US schools. For students across the country, this means a greater emphasis on SEL skills could have a long-term impact on career readiness and success. ACT® Tessera™ measures these SEL skills and provides educators with resources and strategies to address areas of improvement.
To learn more about Social and Emotional Learning skills and ACT Tessera, visit act.org/act-tessera.
The Positive Effect of Teaching Social and Emotional Learning Skills
East High School in Salt Lake City has an exceptionally diverse student population, with a large number of refugees, 43 different languages spoken, and socioeconomic backgrounds ranging from wealthy to homeless. Relying heavily on teaching and assessing Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills, East High has overcome the challenges of preparing this unique mix of students for college and work.
East High pioneered an SEL-based curriculum, titled “Techniques for Tough Times,” led by teacher Leigh VandenAkker. The course incorporates ACT Tessera assessments, which measure students’ progress in behavioral skills. Tessera results are also used in professional development, helping teachers identify social and emotional areas for improvement in what they teach. “It empowers teachers, and they feel uplifted because they’re learning from their students as well,” said VandenAkker.
Belief in Educators, Students, and Families Leads to Higher Achievement
The Louisiana Department of Education’s “Louisiana Believes” program contains a plan to ensure all students are on track to college or a career. Since Louisiana launched the program in 2013, the state has seen:
- A 0.5 point increase in the average ACT Composite score
- 7,000 more students earn a score of 18 or higher
- The student graduation rate rise from 71% to 77%
- The college enrollment rate rise from 48% to 58%
Now, Louisiana has the third-highest average ACT Composite score and the largest ACT Composite score growth of the Southern states that test all students statewide. Read about what they did to achieve this success.
Comprehensive Assessment Plan Webinar
April 10, 2018—3:30 PM or April 24, 2018—3:30 PM
Help your district focus on the overall purpose of your assessment system as well as its individual components with Comprehensive Assessment Planning. Once your assessment needs and goals are met, your district can eliminate redundant assessments and choose those that can fill more than one need and serve more meaningful purposes.
During this session, we will demonstrate the value of a connected assessment system that increases the readiness of your students both academically and in Social and Emotional Learning, highlighting the use of ACT assessments that measure longitudinal growth, predict to the ACT, and determine student progress toward college readiness. We will identify measures that produce data that focus on noncognitive skills such as tenacity and grit, and organization and leadership. In addition, we will share ACT resources that are available for personalized instruction and intervention.
How ACT Data Impacts Student and School Achievement
March 6–April 18
Learn how to understand and interpret ACT results, according to your specific role. Duration: 50 minutes
“This was very helpful, and I will definitely be utilizing the Counseling Guide! Thank you!”
We have improved ACT® Aspire® Interim reports following requests from educators and ACT Aspire interim users. The improvements also stem from our desire to ensure that reports help track progress toward college and career readiness. Some of the most notable changes include:
- Ability to view longitudinal growth over the academic year
- New scores reported, including scale scores, ACT Interim Readiness Range, National Percentile Rank for subject tests, and Progress with Text Complexity Indicator (if students take the reading test)
- Newly developed ACT Interim Readiness Benchmarks for each subject test
- Skill Proficiency by Student, listing individual students by “Meets Benchmark” or “Below Benchmark” by reporting category, with scale score ranges provided.
- Is ACT Aspire a Common Core test? ACT Aspire tests are based on the ACT College Readiness Standards and Benchmarks and are aligned with leading frameworks of content standards that target college and career readiness. If your state standards represent the knowledge and skills that prepare students for college and career, then ACT assessments measure that knowledge and those skills. ACT Aspire was on ACT’s development roadmap in 2009, before the completion of the Common Core State Standards and before the launch of the new assessments for Common Core State Standards.
- How does domain sampling factor into the development of ACT Aspire? ACT Aspire applies the principle of domain sampling to deliver the highest-quality results for a real-world assessment. Through ACT’s data-driven, domain-sampling approach backed by almost 60 years of empirical research and data, each subject test targets the most important college and career readiness skills in a focused and coherent way. ACT can report on these skills in instructionally meaningful ways. Domain Sampling is a sophisticated and balanced approach to assessment development that professionals use to generate reliable and valid results while balancing the need for score accuracy, concern for time lost from instruction, and financial constraints.
Find the complete list of ACT Aspire questions and answers here.