About ACT - Press Kit

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as a national leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality assessments grounded in nearly 60 years of research. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions designed to provide personalized insights that help individuals succeed from elementary school through career.


ACT provides high-quality assessments and services in education and workforce development, grounded in nearly 60 years of research. We are:


We create products designed to help our customers reach their education and workplace goals.


We re-invest in research programs and services to support our mission of helping people succeed.


We use data and research to drive policy, product and business decisions.

Our Principles

We strive to always be:


We do everything we can to level the playing field for everyone, regardless of needs, backgrounds, or resources.


We assess a broad range of skills, both cognitive and social and emotional, to help individuals navigate toward college and career success.


We are industry leaders through our research and technology, constantly evolving as an integral part of the learning process.

Our Reach

Opportunity for All

  • Our mission: Helping people achieve education and workplace success.
  • We fulfill our mission by serving students, parents, educators, job seekers, employers and more to boost lifelong learning and potential for success in education and workplaces around the world. We’re passionate about making a difference in all we do.
  • Each year, we reach millions of individuals in all 50 states and in more than 130 countries.
  • In 2016, we administered a total of 15 million education and job skills assessments, awarded 3.6 million ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificates®, and employed over 1,000 individuals in 37 states.
  • 64% of students in the 2016 US high school graduating class took the ACT® test at some point during high school
  • At ACT, we believe that any student has the potential to learn, and that a students’ background or family income should not determine their college and career opportunities. Our Center for Equity in Learning supports innovative partnerships, initiatives, research, and programs that help young people succeed in education and the workplace, through purposeful investments, employee engagement and thoughtful advocacy efforts.
  • ACT provided fee waivers to more than 700,000 students from lower income families last year so that they could take the ACT test up to two times for free. These waivers represent a value of $36 million.
  • Students who use fee waivers to register for the ACT test automatically receive free access to online test preparatory resources – ACT® Online Prep and ACT® Kaplan® Online Prep Live.

Our History

  • ACT was founded in Iowa City in 1959 by University of Iowa education professor E.F. Lindquist and University of Iowa registrar and director of admissions Ted McCarrel.
  • ACT disrupted the college admission testing industry by focusing on academic achievement, not aptitude.
  • ACT was the first organization to define college and career readiness standards.
  • The ACT was the first and is still the only college entrance exam to include a science exam.
  • In 2014, ACT® Aspire® debuted as the first longitudinal digital assessment system, to provide a unified record of student performance from the elementary grades through early high school.

Our Products & Solutions

The ACT test is just one aspect of the work we do. Our solutions span elementary grades through college and into career.

ACT Companies and Affiliates

  • ACT Education Solutions, Limited: An ACT subsidiary that offers curriculum to help international students prepare for study at English-speaking universities around the world.
  • OpenEd

Beyond Assessments

We’ve already disrupted the industry once, and we’re ready to do it again by growing a portfolio of solutions and innovative research to advance our mission.

  • ACTNext, an internal research, development, and business innovation division led by computational psychometrics researcher Alina von Davier, integrates interdisciplinary research in computational psychometrics, machine learning, and multimodal analytics to deliver innovative learning and assessment systems to help people and organizations worldwide achieve education and workplace success.

Policy Platforms

ACT has articulated policy recommendations in the form of policy platforms in four areas:

K-12 Education

The U.S. has a diverse and vibrant system with a long-standing commitment to expanding access and opportunity to all students.

Higher Education

Our nation’s prosperity requires states to respond to the challenge of ensuring all students are prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce.

Career & Technical Education (CTE)

CTE has tremendous potential to improve education and workplace success, but it must be high-quality and all students must have equal access to CTE programs.

Workforce Development

Jobs in the U.S. economy are changing, requiring more workers who have at least some postsecondary training.

Help Advance Our Mission

Education and Workplace Success

We’re passionate about what we do and determined to help people achieve education and workplace success.

ACT State Organizations

A unique network of education and workplace professionals who identify initiatives and align them with the mission, goals and objectives of ACT. We welcome new members.

ACT College & Career Readiness Campaign

Celebrates achievement and creates awareness around the goal of college and career readiness for all. Nominate and celebrate exemplars in your state.

Social Media

We’re always looking for ways to connect with our advocates. Connect with ACT on social media to help people achieve education and workplace success.