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Coming to a School Near You: The Back to School Pack from ACT

Keep your eye out for the Back to School pack from ACT.

ACT is about more than just a test. We want to empower you to open doors, build confidence, and unleash the potential of your students. The Back to School pack contains support materials for 2018-2019 and a useful guide as a resource to share with your students. There’s no telling how far you can help them go.

Sticking to a Plan

Who Is Likely to Declare a Major That Is Consistent with Their Intentions?

A student’s intended major is one of the more important pieces of information that he or she provides when registering for the ACT. However, only 55% of ACT-tested students declare a major in college that is consistent with the intended major area that they indicated at the time of ACT registration.

Results of ACT research show that a student’s intended major area is a more reliable indicator of his or her declared major when the student:

  • Expresses greater certainty about his or her intended major
  • Plans on majoring in an area that is well-aligned with his or her measured interests
  • Plans on majoring in an area that is better aligned with his or her level of academic preparation

At the time students register for the ACT, they can select an intended major and indicate a level of certainty in that choice: “Very Sure,” Fairly Sure,” and “Not Sure.” Students who are very sure of their intended major choice are 25% more likely to declare a similar major than students who report they are not sure.

Interest-major fit scores measure the similarity between a student’s interest score profile and that of successful college students in that major. The results of ACT studies show that if students’ choose a major that is well-aligned with their interests as measured by the ACT Interest Inventory, they will be more likely to:

  • Remain in their major
  • Persist in college
  • Complete a college degree in a timely manner

We also looked at the fit between achievement and intended major. Results of the study indicate that students who are either underprepared or overprepared academically are less likely to declare a major in the same area as they had originally intended.

Read the full story in the 2018 Higher Education Research Digest.


Academic Readiness and Discipline: Two Factors Related to Degree Completion

For students, the benefits of graduating high school ready for college are not limited to academic performance within their first-year of college coursework. In fact, achieving college readiness in high school is associated with positive longer-term benefits.

Students who meet more ACT College Readiness Benchmarks are more likely to attend college and earn a degree within six years.

For the 2010 ACT-tested high school graduating class:

  • 8 out of every 10 students meeting all four Benchmarks enrolled in a postsecondary institution in fall 2010 (or 83%), compared to only 5 out of every 10 students doing so among those meeting none of the Benchmarks (or 49%)
  • 7 out of every 10 students meeting all four Benchmarks immediately enrolled in college and completed an associate’s or bachelor’s degree within six years (or 68%), compared to only 2 out of every 10 students doing so among those meeting none of the Benchmarks (or 18%)

Findings from these analysis highlight the positive effects that academic preparation has on persistence in college to timely degree completion for students attending two- or four-year postsecondary institutions. Given that a significant percentage of students with higher ACT Composite scores are without a degree six years later, there are clearly other student characteristics contributing to students’ success in college.

Prior research has shown that social and emotional learning (SEL) skills (including motivation and academic discipline) provide information beyond measures of academic achievement that increases accurate identification of students at risk for dropping out of college and not completing a degree in a timely manner.

Students with higher ACT Engage Academic Discipline scores were more likely to complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree within six years than those with lower Academic Discipline scores. For example, for those with an ACT Composite score of 22, a student’s chances of competing a degree within six years increased from 39% for those with a low Academic Discipline score to 73% for those with a high Academic Discipline score.

In alignment with the ACT Holistic Framework these findings highlight the benefits of using multiple measures for predicting students’ chances of college success.

Read the full story in the 2018 Higher Education Research Digest.

Best Practices

Share Your ACT Story

Educators all across the country are discovering their own ways to use ACT solutions to improve and track students’ readiness for college and career. Their stories have inspired us to share these best practices with others, as we are finding new and innovative ways to prepare students for a successful future.

We hope that you find ways to use your colleagues’ experiences at your own school or district to make leaps forward in your educational practices. Read the success stories here.

Share your own ACT story with us and it may be featured in a future newsletter for the benefit of other educators.

Professional Development

2018 ACT College and Career
Readiness Workshops

Learn how to support every student at every step on their journey to college and career success. Register for a 2018 ACT College and Career Readiness Workshop.

Sign Up for a Workshop

Can't attend a workshop?
Sign up to attend a webinar.

Webinar: A New and Free Instructional Tool

Join us for a live webinar to learn about ACT® Academy™—a free online learning tool and test practice program designed to help students get the best score possible on the ACT® test and be well on their way to college and career success.

Register for the ACT Academy Webinar

August 30, 2018 |  4 ET/ 1 PT
Duration: 60 minutes

Webinar: The NEW ACT/SAT Concordance Tables - What You Need to Know

Join experts from ACT and College Board for this second of two opportunities to discuss the new 2018 ACT/SAT concordance tables released in June 2018.

Register for the ACT/SAT Concordance Webinar

September 18, 2018 | 3 ET/ 12 noon PT
Duration: 60 minutes

Upcoming Dates

2018 NACAC National Conference

September 27–29, 2018 | Salt Lake City, UT

Make plans to attend this annual gathering of over 7,500 counseling and admission professionals—network, learn the latest admission news and research in cutting-edge education sessions, and hear from inspiring speakers.

In the Works

ACT Academy Educator Experience

This month, ACT will launch the teacher, parent, and administrator experience of ACT® Academy. ACT launched the student experience in March 2018.

ACT Academy is designed to integrate easily and seamlessly with your existing learning management system. Here’s how it works:

  1. Teachers assign ACT Academy homework content and quizzes to students.
  2. Students complete assignments, and their individual performance and progress appears on a mastery chart.
  3. ACT Academy uses advanced algorithms powered by best-in-class machine learning to find relevant instructional content for each student or classroom, based on homework and quiz results. The content is designed to help with remediation and mastery of subject areas.
  4. Educators can track students’ progress, receive detailed results, and assign further resources recommended by ACT Academy and tailored to students’ areas of need.

Learn more about ACT Academy at

Research Spotlight

2018 Higher Education Research Digest

In July, ACT released the second annual Higher Education Research Digest. This report highlights research about the factors that affect student success at the post-secondary level. Information in the report is important not only to college admission professionals, but high school administrators as well.

The 2018 Higher Education Research Digest features articles about:

  • How ACT data informs college recruitment
  • The impact of social and emotional learning skills
  • High school rigor and predicting college success
  • Choosing a major consistent with student intentions
  • Academic readiness and discipline

Product Spotlight

Testing Windows for 2018–2019

Remember to schedule administrations of your ACT solutions. See the calendar below for testing windows for each ACT assessment.

Overlapping testing dates are a great opportunity to establish a college and career readiness day (PDF). Students and educators from every grade can participate in a coordinated test administration to minimize the impact on instructional time and promote a culture of higher achievement.