ACT Research

As a not-for-profit educational research organization, ACT is committed to producing research that focuses on key issues in education and workforce development. Our goal is to serve as an information resource. We strive to provide policymakers with the insight they need to inform education and workforce development policy and to give educators the tools they need to lead more students toward college and career success. What follows are some of ACT’s recent and most groundbreaking research studies.


The 20 Non-Negotiable Characteristics of Higher Performing School Systems

Discover the 20 hard-hitting characteristics that make school systems successful at preparing students for college and careers.


A Better Measure of Skills Gaps

This report proposes a simple definition to describe the increasing mismatch between labor market supply and demand in America and sets forth detailed and specific measures to analyze skills gaps in four major industry sectors.


The Core Practice Framework: A Guide to Sustained School Improvement

This report provides an overview of the Core Practice Framework, an evidence-based approach schools or districts can use to develop a long-term and systemic strategy for improving student performance.


A First Look at the Common Core and College and Career Readiness

Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core State Standards. Now, efforts to implement the standards take on primary importance. ACT provides this first look at student performance relative to the Common Core State Standards and college and career readiness.


The Forgotten Middle

This report examines the factors that influence college and career readiness. The percentage of 8th graders on target to be ready for college-level work by the time they graduate from high school is so small that it raises questions not just about the prospect that these students can eventually be ready for college and career but also about whether they are even ready for high school.


Implementing the Common Core State Standards: Progress at Higher-Performing High Schools

This one-page information brief provides results of a fall 2011 study that surveyed teachers and administrators from higher performing high schools and assessed the timeline for key implementation tasks for the Common Core State Standards.