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ACT Plan®


Year Introduced

1987 (originally called P-ACT+)

Note: ACT Explore® and ACT Plan will be available ONLY for the remainder of the 2013–2014 testing year and will not be available after June 2014. The ACT Grade 8 and Grade 10 assessments will be migrating to ACT Aspire™.



Purpose/Description

  • ACT Plan serves as the midpoint measure of academic progress in the ACT continuum.
  • ACT Plan is a curriculum-based achievement exam that measures the skills and knowledge that are taught in schools and deemed important for success in firstyear coursework at postsecondary institutions.
  • Just as with ACT Explore and the ACT, ACT Plan comprises subject area tests in:
    • English (50 questions, 30 minutes)
    • Math (40 questions, 40 minutes)
    • Reading (25 questions, 20 minutes)
    • Science (30 questions, 25 minutes)


Intended Users

There are four distinct users of ACT Plan score reports and data:

  1. Students in Grade 10 who take the assessment.
  2. Parents/families of these students gain early insight into a student’s level of preparedness for college and career by high school graduation.
  3. Educators can identify areas of academic risk, allowing for early intervention. Teachers and counselors may use ACT Plan results as a valuable advising tool when reviewing students’ academic progress.
  4. District and school administrators receive reports designed to help them advance student achievement and improve instructional tools. These reports provide a tool for longitudinal student monitoring when preceded by ACT Explore in Grade 8 or 9 and followed by the ACT® college readiness assessment exam in Grades 11 or 12.


Volume/Number of Users

Number of Grade 10 students who took ACT Plan:

20091,239,108
20101,183,431
20111,290,640
20121,456,845
20131,470,262

Growth in usage over the above period: 18.7%



Additional Facts

  • Each of the four subject area tests is multiple choice in format.
  • Each of the four subject area tests is scored on a scale of 1–32. A Composite ACT Plan score is provided, along with an estimated range the student is likely to score on the ACT in Grades 11 or 12.
  • ACT Plan is ordered and administered by schools or school districts. The guidance counselor at the school may know whether ACT Plan is offered to Grade 10 students in that school.
  • ACT Plan includes an interest inventory that asks questions about the types of work tasks students would/would not like to do. This career exploration component is designed to stimulate students’ thinking about future plans and helps them explore personally relevant career options.
  • ACT Plan standards, like all ACT college readiness standards, are aligned to Common Core.
  • The individual score report provided to students and their families indicates for each of the four subject areas:
    • How many questions were answered correctly
    • How many questions were omitted (there is no penalty for guessing, so an omitted item is marked as incorrect)
    • How many questions were answered incorrectly
    • Prescriptive suggestions on how to improve each of the key skills measured by ACT Plan
    • How the student’s ACT Plan score in each subject area compares to established benchmark scores (below/at/above) indicating the likelihood of being ready for first-year college courses
  • Students who take ACT Plan earn higher average scores on the ACT than those who do not.


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