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9 Principles of High-Quality Assessment Systems

Schools and districts should follow these nine principles* of high-quality assessment systems in implementing the student assessment component of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

  1. Monitors growth over a student’s educational experience.
  2. Is an effective tool for students, teachers, administrators, and parents to monitor student progress.
  3. Incorporates the unique accessibility needs of English learners and students with disabilities.
  4. Varies assessment formats according to the type of standards that need to be measured.
  5. Measures behavioral skills.
  6. Is offered through multiple comparable platforms.
  7. Offers multiple stakeholders—especially teachers—ongoing, real-time, interactive reporting and access to assessments results and other related data, as well as the supporting documentation to understand and appropriately use the results.
  8. Is well aligned to state learning standards.
  9. Yields useful data bolstered by acceptable student participation rates.

No single assessment or assessment type can capture all aspects of student performance and readiness, especially in the context of a holistic approach to education. In 2014, ACT stated its principles for a high-quality assessment system. In the wake of ESSA, these principles have been revisited and updated for the current era of federal accountability in the 2018 Edition of ACT’s K-12 Education Policy Platform.

*Excerpt from the 2018 Edition of ACT’s K-12 Education Policy Platform 

Read more details of the nine principles 

Personalized Learning Breakthrough: Introducing RAD API

Discover the breakthrough software capability designed by ACTNext™ to guide students to education resources that address their individual learning needs.

The Recommendations and Diagnostics (RAD) engine, delivered through an application programming interface (API), is used to continuously track evidence of learning, diagnose mastery and generate personalized recommendations. RAD API combines the power of an intelligent educational-content delivery platform with state of the art, real-time skill estimate tracking.

Currently, the RAD API powers recommendations in ACT Academy, a free online learning platform that provides personalized, free resources unique to student learning gaps, as well as test prep for the ACT, aligned to the ACT reporting categories.

Learn more about RAD API

Learn from ACT Experts Who’ve Been in Your Shoes

When should students take the ACT test?

Best Practices

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 launching the program in 2013, Louisiana has had the largest ACT Composite score growth of the Southern states that test all students statewide. 

The "Louisiana Believes" Program Case Study (PDF)

Professional Development

College, Career, and Life Readiness Webinar

Join us for a free webinar—College, Career and Life Readiness—to learn how you can help your students develop the academic and social and emotional learning skills they need to be successful in the classroom, on the job and in life.

Register for the College, Career, and Life Readiness Webinar

Confident and College Ready Webinar

Join us for this free webinar series to learn about a new personalized learning system that accelerates high school seniors’ math and English mastery, enhancing their readiness for college-level coursework.

Register for the Confident and College Ready Webinar

Upcoming Dates

National ACT Test

Test Date: February 9, 2019 

Registration: January 11, 2019

Late Registration: January 18, 2019 

Register Now

ACT District Testing Program

Registration, Contract, and School List Deadline: January 18, 2019

ACT District Testing

ACT Aspire

Summative Spring Order Deadline:
January 31, 2018

ACT Aspire

Research Spotlight

Does Anxiety Bias ACT Test Scores?

Debilitating test anxiety is a general threat to validity if it biases assessment scores. Moreover, if bias differs between demographic groups, anxiety also raises concerns about fairness.

ACT senior researcher, Dr. Jeffrey Steedle investigated possible measurement bias due to anxiety on the ACT test. Results indicated that college admissions test scores were not biased by anxiety. Anxiety was primarily related to examinees’ feelings of being unprepared for the test.

Does Test Anxiety Bias ACT Scores? (PDF)

ACT® CollegeReady™ Students More Likely to Pass College English

Many students graduate from high school under-prepared for college-level coursework, leading to a large number of students entering college who require remediation in English and mathematics.

To assess the effectiveness of ACT CollegeReady in preparing students for college-level English material, ACT researchers examined differences in introductory English course pass rates among three groups of students at Chattanooga State Community College.

Results of this study showed that students who elected to skill-up with ACT CollegeReady to the point they avoided remedial coursework, out-performed their peers with regard to their pass rate in their first college-level English composition course. 

Read the Research

In the Works

Measure Social and Emotional Learning at Your School Free

This year, eight schools will have the opportunity to join the growing number of educational institutions that have discovered that Social and Emotional learning (SEL) matters.

All schools and districts are invited to apply for the first-ever ACT Social and Emotional Learning Program. Selected schools will receive 500 free ACT® Tessera® assessments and have the opportunity to share their feedback regarding the experience.

Applications must be submitted by February 8, 2019.

Tessera is a comprehensive next-generation assessment system designed to help K-12 educators measure and evaluate 6-12th grade students’ SEL skills, determine their strengths and areas for improvement, and identify interventions to help them succeed.

Assessments must be administered by July 31, 2019. Schools may purchase unlimited additional assessments for $8.00 (a 20% discount), after using the initial 500 credits.