July 2017

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The 32nd Annual ACT Enrollment Planners Conference
July 17-19 2017
Register Today for EPC

Looking for the perfect summer professional development opportunity for enrollment management professionals? ACT’s annual July conference may be the perfect event. Learn more and register today

You will gain valuable insight from nationally recognized keynote speakers and over 60 best practice focused sessions, delivered by influential enrollment and admission professionals from 2-year and 4-year public and private colleges from across the nation.

Topics include:
  • Admissions, Marketing, and Enrollment Management Best Practices
  • Underserved, Adult, and Nontraditional Populations
  • Retention and Student Success
  • Enrollment Management Research, Technology, Analytics, and Metrics
  • Higher Ed Policy and Practice

ACT Workforce Summit – Register now!

ACT is committed to a workforce built to sustain and grow our economy by providing the tools and support needed to develop the workforce employer’s want. This year's ACT Workforce Summit will Connect, Stack and Build to strengthen the nation’s employment base as we convene with workforce professionals, economic developers, educators, industry associations, employers and ACT Work Ready Community leaders.

Connect with colleagues to share ideas on how to bring employers and job seekers together to grow your community.

Stackable credentials help develop and document the skilled workforce necessary to give communities a competitive advantage.

Build partnerships using the framework developed by ACT to help workforce and economic development groups create the skilled workforce employers need.

Join us Nov 8-10, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin, TX. Take advantage of the early bird pricing and save on your registration!
Check out our website for more information including fees, the full agenda and learn more about all the things to see and do in Austin.

ACT College and Career Readiness workshops

Set your students up for success. Learn how to use ACT Assessments and Data. Want to find out more and register? Please visit here.

ACT Counselor Newsletter

Visit the latest version here.

Make Your Voice Heard

Join ACT Voice, a free research panel. Participate in future market research studies. Share your opinions about ACT products and services or about your industry. Some studies offer compensation for participation.

Learn more or join now.

Development and Validation of a Preliminary ELA Readiness Benchmark based on the ACT ELA Score

In fall 2015, ACT introduced the ACT English Language Arts (ELA) score as a combination of the ACT English, reading, and writing scores ranging from 1 to 36. The ACT ELA Benchmark was then developed by identifying the ACT ELA score associated with a 50% chance of earning a grade of B or higher and approximately a 75% chance of earning a C grade or higher in seven ELA-related courses commonly taken by first-year college students. This cutoff score was determined to be 20. Previously, ACT has also developed similar Readiness Benchmarks for English, reading, science, mathematics, and STEM.

Given the importance of integrated literacy skills for both academic and workplace success, the purpose of developing a preliminary ELA Readiness Benchmark based on the ACT ELA score was to provide prospective students with information on the level of knowledge and skills needed to have a reasonable chance of success in ELA-related first-year courses. Providing students with this type of information early on will help them determine their preparedness for success in a wide array of ELA-related courses and help them avoid needing to take remedial courses. The ultimate goal is that this information will be used to identify at-risk students and provide academic interventions in order to support all students in achieving educational and workplace success.

The full report is available here.

Does Testing Date Impact Student Scores on the ACT?

A recent brief from researchers at ACT discusses why ACT test scores are directly comparable across test administrations, and why scores generally increase with more instructional time. The brief provides answers to four questions related to the question of when to take the ACT:
  1. What is equating and how does it affect interpretation of ACT test scores?
  2. Do students who test later in their high school career perform better than students who test earlier in their career?
  3. In grade 11, does it matter when during the school year students take the ACT?
  4. Do students who retest with the ACT increase their scores?

The full report is available here.

EdWeek Commentary: We Should Measure Students' Social and Emotional Learning Skills

Social and emotional learning (SEL) skills are “big news" since there is an extraordinary amount of evidence establishing the importance of these skills for student success in school, college, career and lifetime satisfaction. Educators are accompanying this conversation with discussion about assessing and measuring these competencies.

Researchers in university departments of psychology and educational assessment, as well as scientists at various measurement companies, have been developing innovative, evidence-based systems to assess student character strengths and noncognitive skills. These new systems use multiple methods to measure more than self-reporting assessments, achieving reliability and validity for many uses in schools and districts.

We can now confidently measure critical SEL skills and use the data in many ways while determining:
  • Which SEL programs are having the greatest success
  • Which students are thriving
  • Which students need more attention and support
School leaders who are committed to educating “the whole student”—and increasing accountability for developing students’ cognitive and noncognitive strengths—can now present school boards and administrators with both types of data for their evaluation. Many school board members demand metrics for every strategic plan objective, and measuring these skills provides sound evidence of a plan’s success (or lack thereof) in developing student character.

Read the full article in Education Week, "We Should Measure Students' Noncognitive Skills," for insights into both the importance of measuring these skills and why all methods for assessment and measurement are not created equal.

The time has come for states, districts, schools, and classrooms to prioritize social and emotional learning for all students and to carefully, and appropriately, collect evidence of student growth in this area.

What’s new for 2017-18?

ACT is continually providing new resources and services to understand and support the many facets of each student. Below are a few notable updates from ACT:
  • The shift in education and the workplace is changing how we must think about college and career readiness. ACT has created a holistic framework for understanding education and work readiness, navigating life’s transition points and achieving success. Learn more
  • The research is unequivocal: noncognitive skills and character strengths, also referred to as social and emotional learning (SEL) factors, strongly predict academic achievement, career success, and lifelong well-being. Many studies find that these attributes contribute as much or more than academic skills in helping students succeed. Learn more
  • ACT will be the first to offer English learner supports to students taking a college entrance exam through national and state or district testing. We invite you to review the policy as it outlines the criteria, procedures, and guiding principles to deliver English learner supports.
  • Teachers have free access to over a million assessments, homework assignments, lesson plans, and more through OpenEd. Its curated content comes from a wide variety of publishers including PBS, GeoGebra, NASA, Khan Academy and more than 25,000 other sources. OpenEd, an ACT company, is the only K-12 educational resource library focused on aligning resources to learning objectives, allowing teachers to find the most effective resources for their students. Learn more

From the Field
Tennessee to host ACT Preparation Mini-Conference, July 20-21

Educators and administrators from across the state are invited to participate in a two-day conference to share best practices for preparing students for the ACT. During the 2016–17 school year, nearly 100 high schools across the state participated in a pilot program for ACT preparation facilitated by the state. At this conference, the department will share results and analysis of the pilot program and Tennessee educators and administrators will lead sessions on instructional best practices and schoolwide strategies. The objectives of the conference are for participants to be able to:

  • Adopt and adapt best practices for creating a school-wide culture of student readiness that promotes postsecondary success for all students.
  • Embed ACT preparation into daily instructional practices in all content areas by connecting ACT tested standards and state academic standards.
  • Personalize ACT preparation and instruction to help students target individual deficit areas.
  • Implement college and career development tools to support student postsecondary planning and ensure that all students understand the relevance of the ACT/SAT exams and early postsecondary opportunities for college and career readiness.

Registration is available here until July 10. Please contact with questions.

The Power of Partnerships

Coordinating and finding resources to help achieve college and career readiness is definitely a challenge. That challenge becomes even greater when your state is cutting budgets and staff members. Recently Jennifer Gomez-Chavez, University of New Mexico and Oscar Chavez, New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation shared information with the New Mexico ACT Council on how over 20 organizations in New Mexico are now working in collaboration to share information and resources between organizations to more efficiently and effectively support students, parents and educators.

You can learn more about this amazing and diverse network of partners at NMKnowledge4College. The website provides real-time answers to questions about college admissions, financial aid applications, scholarships and careers. Students, parents, and educators are able to chat live, explore a virtual information center, access an events calendar, and obtain information on FAFSA Workshops.

Advocacy in Action

Alaska ACT Council & ACT Government Relations

The third goal for ACT State Organizations reads, “Advocate for policies to support and address academic and workforce issues.” What does this look like in action?

In early April, a member of the Alaska ACT Council alerted ACT of a bill that would significantly impact the Alaska Performance Scholarship (APS). Alaska high school students can earn the APS to pay for college or career training in Alaska.

The Alaska ACT Council worked closely with their District Manager and ACT Government Relations to draft a letter to the members of the House Education Committee Chairs and the House Finance Committee urging the revision of the bill to remove student barriers to success. As of mid-June, no resolution regarding this legislation has been made. While Alaskans wait to see the outcome of this legislation, the Council is hopeful their voice and concerns have been heard.

If you see an advocacy opportunity ACT should consider addressing, please contact your District Manager. Your District Manager will work closely with ACT Government Relations to determine an appropriate course of action. Advocacy opportunities may include, but are not limited to: dual enrollment, opt-out, student data privacy, etc.

New Pre-College and Career Readiness Curriculum Now Available

The American College Application Campaign (ACAC) has joined forces with ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning to expand ACAC’s reach to younger students. Now available on ACAC’s website is the Pre-College and Career Readiness Curriculum for Students and Their Families.

The curriculum, developed based on school counselor feedback, is intended for middle and high school counselors and college access professionals who work with students to identify interests and lay the academic foundation for their careers and life. Counselors will find eight lessons covering topics such as Earn College Credit in High School, Today’s Choices Impact Tomorrow’s Options, and What is the Real Cost of College? In addition, the curriculum provides student classroom activities and handouts for students and families.

Students and their families who utilize the curriculum with a counselor or college advisor will become familiar with the language and processes associated with obtaining a postsecondary education diploma or credential by:

  • understanding how to plan for postsecondary education while in high school;
  • connecting personal interests and values to college majors and careers;
  • developing a values-driven, decision-making process; and
  • gaining insight on how to pay for college.

Download the curriculum for free! ACAC encourages you to share this resource within your state. Head here and select “Resources.” Questions about the curriculum can be sent to

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