Higher Education Newsletter
Welcome to the ACT Higher Education Newsletter
This resource is for higher education professionals and includes news, research, events, and professional development opportunities.
In This Issue:
- Upcoming Events
- Recap: Enrollment Management Summit 2018
- ACT Acquisition Announcement
- Product Spotlight—ACT Engage
- EOS Names Release
- The Power of Social and Emotional Learning for a Diverse, College-Ready Class
- A Guide to the 2018 ACT/SAT Concordance
- Using the 2018 ACT/SAT Concordance Table
- Retention and Transfer Behavior of First-Generation Students
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Recap: Enrollment Management Summit 2018
Last week, hundreds of higher education professionals gathered at the ACT Enrollment Management Summit (EMS) to network and learn how to improve their enrollment, retention, and student success programs.
Attendees traveled to the Mile High City to explore the ever-changing landscape of higher education. A few themes emerged:
- Change is inevitable. For example, factors such as shifting demographics or the impact of elections on educational policy will impact higher education in a myriad of ways. As an industry, how do we adjust in anticipation of what’s around the corner?
- Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is a powerful tool which can be leveraged for assessment, learning, diversity, and much more. In what ways will SEL provider greater insight and transform education processes?
- Enrollment can sustain or even grow by providing the right supports for all students—low-income, minority, first generation, nontraditional. How?
- Increasing high school graduation rates
- Increasing enrollment for underrepresented groups
- Increasing retention for all students are a few places to start
Back by popular demand, ACT “Ed Talks” whet the appetite for larger discussions on topics around early FAFSA submission, economic and policy trends, and marketing best practices. Each five-minute presentation previewed a breakout session to dive deeper into the topic.
New this year, attendees could register for a pre-conference workshop. The half-day session took an in-depth look at understating ACT data and research services for enrollment management. Those who attended the session received a Certification as an ACT Enrollment Management Professional. To earn this credential, make sure to register early for next year’s Summit.
The conference wrapped up with a panel discussion among the three most recent National School Counselors of the Year, recognized by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). The conversation was a unique view into the college search and application process from the other side of the desk. The session “Confessions from High School Counselors” provided insight into the challenges counselors face at the high school level and provided a platform to begin the discussion for how high school counselors and admissions professionals can work more closely moving forward.
Save the Date: July 15-17
ACT Enrollment Management Summit 2019 | Dallas, Texas
News: ACT Acquires NRCCUA
Tuesday, July 24, - ACT, Inc. announced that it has acquired The National Research Center for College and University Admissions™ (NRCCUA®), the creators of Encoura™ Data Lab enrollment platform, Eduventures® Research and Advisory Services, and MyOptions™ – the nation’s largest college planning program.
The acquisition means we'll be able to provide enhanced enrollment management products and services and greater efficiencies to enrollment and admissions professionals.
Help At-Risk Students Succeed with ACT Engage College
Identify key strengths and potential risk factors which affect your students’ goal setting, retention, and graduation by using years of ACT research to your advantage. ACT Engage College is a powerful and affordable tool for higher-education institutions to help improve their first-year student retention rates and directly reach students whose personal challenges go unreported in standardized academic tests.
Your institution can use Engage College in many ways:
- Provide key information about students’ motivation, self-regulation, and social engagement
- Reveal levels of academic self-confidence, commitment to college and social activity with scaled reporting
- Identify students who are in need of intervention and at risk of dropping out
- Adjust course curriculum or create immediate, individualized approaches for interventions as early as the first semester during freshman year
The simple 30-minute assessment can easily fit into your orientation or first-year program. The online tool is affordable and easy to integrate across campuses and testing centers. Proctors are not required, and reports are available immediately.
From the 2018 Higher Education Research Digest
The Power of Social and Emotional Learning: Skills for a Diverse, College-Ready Class
As demographics change, it can be challenging to admit a class of students that is both college-ready and appropriately diverse. Many colleges and universities are exploring different solutions to reliably identify underserved students with potential to do well in college, despite their academic record.
Now admissions and enrollment managers can consider factors beyond the most common academic measures to build a new cohort of students. Findings from more than a decade of research on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) offer insights on how to increase diversity without sacrificing academic preparedness.
These research discoveries support the ACT Holistic Framework™, which underscores the importance of considering factors in addition to academic skills to predict a student’s likelihood of future success. Moreover, it’s crucial to weigh students’ holistic profile of strengthsand weaknesses.
One SEL skill in particular, Academic Discipline, measures the degree to which one is hardworking and conscientious. Research shows that Academic Discipline is a reliable predictor for outcomes such as academic success, retention, and completion. For example, within each ACT Composite score band, higher levels of Academic Discipline are related to higher college grades.
Fair to Compare: A Guide to the 2018 ACT/SAT Concordance
Similar, but not identical – that describes the relationship between the ACT and SAT. These two assessments have much in common, yet measure different things. For that reason, ACT and College Board joined forces to develop a “concordance” to establish a relationship between test scores to guide admissions decisions and ultimately to benefit students.
A technically-sound concordance allows students and professionals to compare scores from similar assessments to inform decisions. A redesign of the SAT in 2016 prompted the need for the 2018 ACT/SAT Concordance Tables. Keep in mind that a concorded score is not a perfect prediction of how a student would perform on the other test.
The concordance tables include ACT and SAT test scores which cover similar content and maintain a strong statistical relationship. The concordance is based on scores of nearly 600,000 students who graduated in 2017 and took both tests. The table below lists the three sets of concordances.
To answer questions, such as:
What are the potential uses of Concordance Tables?
- Comparing ACT and SAT scores among different students
- Establishing a policy using comparable scores from both tests
- Converting scores for use in a predictive model or index
What are the key considerations and limitations when using the Concordance Tables?
- The ACT and SAT are different tests
- Concordances compare individual scores, not aggregate scores
- Users should avoid making decisions based on a single concorded score
- Prediction error is noteworthy
- Concordances are sample-dependent
- Institutions should not superscore across the ACT and SAT tests.
Using the 2018 ACT/SAT Concordance Table
The 2018 ACT/SAT Concordance Tables are now the only official concordance tables and should be the single reference when comparing ACT and SAT scores for students, effective after the fall 2018 term.
How should you use the ACT/SAT Concordance Table?
Colleges and universities are encouraged to use the concordance tables to inform policies, processes, and decisions. They may be used to compare SAT and ACT scores among different students, to establish policies using comparable scores from both tests, and to convert scores for use in a predictive model or index. Both ACT and the College Board consistently advise that test scores should be used in combination with other factors—including grades—to make important decisions such as admissions.
Consider a real-world example from an ACT Expert Kenton Pauls, director of Higher Education Partnerships:
An institution that requires an ACT composite score of 28 for acceptance needs to determine how to adjust their policy based on the newly released concordance tables. The university should consider the following factors to inform their policy:
- How the concordance was derived: The comparable SAT range for an ACT composite of 28 is 1300-1320. More simply, SAT scores of 1300, 1310, and 1320 all have similar percentile values to a 28 on the ACT. According to the new concordance table, a 1310 SAT score is the closest percentile match. Although a score of 1300 is comparable, a 1310 is the most similar to the ACT composite of 28.
- Context: Whether the institution is in an ACT or SAT-dominant region might impact a cut-off score. A cut-off score of 1310 SAT would include all students with a 28 ACT equally. More importantly, it is necessary to consider which additional factors will be used in conjunction with the test score to create the admissions policy.
- Driving rationale: The desire to limit supply or demand would impact if the institution accepts a 1300 or 1310 for an admissions decision. An SAT score of 1310 is statistically justifiable. If, rather, the institution desires to include all students who demonstrate readiness then including SAT scores as low as 1300 would be a reasonable approach.
In this situation, the concordance does not offer a definitive answer. However, the tables provide tools to inform policy and decisions which are in the best interest of the students and the needs of the institution.
They May be First, But Will They Last?
Retention and Transfer Behavior of First-Generation Students
Does your institution struggle to retain first-generation (FG) students? Findings from a recent ACT study show that, compared to their peers, FG students tend to be at higher risk of dropping out of college at year two.
Did you know that a student’s ACT record provides insight to help identify which FG students are at greater risk of leaving? The findings identify what academic and non-academic factors contribute to the retention and transfer behavior of FG students. The research supports the need for intervention – such as early high school outreach programs, summer bridge programs, academic supports, faculty and peer mentoring, and intrusive advising – designed with FG student needs in mind.