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What College and Career Readiness Scores Mean

The ACT College and Career Readiness Standards are intended to help you understand the meaning of the scores earned in ACT Explore®, ACT Plan®, and the ACT® college readiness assessment (ACT’s three curriculum-based assessment programs).

Whether you’re a parent, teacher, counselor, or student, these sets of statements can help you:

  • communicate widely shared learning goals and educational expectations
  • relate the test scores to the types of skills needed for success in high school and beyond
  • understand the increasing complexity of skills across the score ranges in English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and Writing

ACT Explore, ACT Plan, and the ACT measure students’ progressive development of knowledge and skills in the same academic areas from grades 8 through 12. Therefore, the scores from these three programs can help educators monitor students’ academic growth over time.

The ACT College and Career Readiness Standards serve as a direct link between what students have learned and what they are ready to learn next. Moving between the Standards in one score range and those in the next higher score range suggests ways that information learned from standardized test results can be used to inform classroom instruction.

The Standards are also linked to college instruction. More than 40 years of research has shown that performance on the ACT is directly related to first-year college grade point average. ACT also conducts a regular survey of college instructors to ensure that the Standards are aligned to college-level work.