The ACT is a standardized college admission exam. It measures high school students’ readiness for college and career success by focusing on key content areas such as English, math, reading, and science (with the optional writing section). Multiple-choice questions are used in the English, math, reading, and science sections, and scores are converted into a composite score between 1 and 36.
ACT also provides score interpretations based on its College and Career Readiness Standards, which can provide secondary schools with information to improve instruction. Furthermore, ACT scores can be compared against College Readiness Benchmarks to determine whether students meet the minimum requirements for college success.
Year developed: 1959.
Access and Use
ACT without the writing section: $66; ACT with the writing section: $91. See the full pricing information here: https://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/registration/fees.html
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Bettinger, E. P., Evans, B. J., & Pope, D. G. (2013). Improving college performance and retention the easy way: Unpacking the ACT exam. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 5(2), 26-52. https://doi.org/10.1257/pol.5.2.26
Herberger, G., Immekus, J., & Ingle, W. K. (2020). Student, neighborhood, and school factors and their association with college readiness: Exploring the implementation of a race-and socioeconomic-based student assignment plan. Education and Urban Society, 52(3), 459-488. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013124519858128
ACT. (2022). ACT technical manual. Iowa City, IA: ACT. https://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/ACT_Technical_Manual.pdf