Catching Up to College and Career Readiness

How many "far off track" 4th- and 8th-graders catch up to college and career readiness before they graduate? In this report, we use assessment data to determine if closing these academic gaps earlier is likely, and if it makes a difference. Read the policy brief, or the more comprehensive research paper, “Getting Students on Track to College and Career Readiness: How Many Catch Up From Far Behind?”

Rising to the Challenge of College and Career Readiness: A Framework for Effective Practices

In this follow-up to our February paper, we discuss how the Core Practice Framework can be used to help students master a content-rich curriculum to better prepare them for college and careers.

The Core Practice Framework: A Guide to Sustained School Improvement

Developed by NCEA researchers, the Core Practice Framework will help educators and policymakers establish a long-term approach to systemic improvement.

The 20 Non-Negotiable Characteristics of Higher Performing School Systems

No one ever sought out to reinvent the wheel, so why should you? We've done the research to see what makes higher performing school systems work, and we're bringing this information to you.

The 20 Non-Negotiable Characteristics of Higher Performing School Systems

No one ever sought out to reinvent the wheel, so why should you? We've done the research to see what makes higher performing school systems work, and we're bringing this information to you.

What are College and Career Readiness Targets?

What are ACT’s College Readiness Benchmarks?

Issues in College Readiness: The Advanced Placement Program Benefits Mainly Well-Prepared Students Who Pass AP Exams

Ready for All Destinations, School Administrator

Techniques for Merging Datasets Based on Key Text Fields

Presents ways to merge datasets using text fields

Preparation Matters

This paper discusses the inadequacy of strategies based on student course-taking unless policymakers also pay sufficient attention to course rigor and to students’ academic preparation in elementary and middle school that makes them ready to benefit from rigorous courses in high school.


How Much Growth Toward College Readiness is Reasonable to Expect in High School

Reasonable growth in achievement is seen throughout high school for students who are on target for college and career readiness. Students who are significantly off target for college and career readiness in eighth grade are far less likely to become ready for college-level work during high school.

The Path to Career Success: High School Achievement, Certainty of Career Choice, and College Readiness

Our findings clearly show that strong academic achievement, certainty of occupational choice, and college readiness promote degree and job attainment in careers of interest and job satisfaction. These results reinforce the need for all high school graduates to be prepared for college and career.

Core Practices in Math and Science: An Investigation of Consistently Higher Performing School Systems in Five States

The current study builds on this research base, using NCEA’s Core Practice Framework to probe into the specific content areas of mathematics and science. By investigating five states (California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Texas) in a variety of policy contexts, NCEA researchers developed a rich picture of effective educational programs and the school systems and structures that enable exceptional student achievement in mathematics and science.

Do "College Preparatory" Courses Live Up to Their Labels?

As enrollment in college-preparatory courses expands to include a large percentage of the student population, troubling evidence has accumulated that many students — particularly disadvantaged ones — are receiving credit for the courses but are not learning the content.

The Power of Longitudinal Data

The accountability mandates of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act have focused educators’ and policymakers’ attention on developing fairer and more accurate methods of assessing student progress on academic standards. NCLB requires schools and districts to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) — a measure of the percentage of students meeting academic proficiency in reading (or English/language arts) and mathematics. Yet students in some schools start so far behind that even though they are making progress toward proficiency, they have not met the goal yet. Growth models can give schools credit for this progress. Growth models also can draw attention to the growth among students who already are proficient or advanced.

Information Won't Be Used If No One Can See It

Why states should publish statistics based on longitudinal student data…

Benefits of Additional High School Course Work and Improved Course Performance in Preparing Students for College

This report investigates the effectiveness of taking additional courses and earning higher grades for improving high school students’ academic preparation for college. It is based on data from students who took ACT’s EXPLORE test in eighth grade, the PLAN test in tenth grade, and the ACT in eleventh/twelfth grade.

ACT's College and Career Readiness System: Meeting the Challenge of a Changing World

U.S. students are in danger of entering the workforce unprepared for the challenges of the 21st-century economy. If U.S. high school graduates are unable to compete in a global labor market, then not just the graduates themselves, but the nation at large will suffer.

The Forgotten Middle

This report examines the specific factors that influence college and career readiness and how these factors can have their greatest impact during a student’s educational development.

What We Know About College Success: Using ACT Data to Inform Educational Issues

ACT research related to college readiness and college success is rich and extensive and offers insights about the impact of readiness on college success. Below we highlight findings of these studies.

Giving All Students the Keys to College and Skilled Careers: One District's Approach

This is the story of how the Garden Grove Unified School District in California is taking on the challenge of preparing all students for college and skilled careers


Rigor at Risk: Reaffirming Quality in the High School Core Curriculum

The purposes of this report are to examine the gap between secondary and postsecondary education in the U.S. and to focus on successful strategies for eliminating this gap so that all high school graduates learn the essential skills they need to be successful in college and work.

ACT National Curriculum Survey 2005-2006

The ACT National Curriculum Survey is a one-of-a-kind nationwide survey of educational practices and expectations conducted by ACT every three to five years.

Broad Prize Tips: Path to Excellence

Districts that have succeeded in closing the achievement gap have no silver bullet…

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