States Using ACT for Statewide Testing

An increasing number of states are recognizing the importance of statewide testing to measure the educational progress of their students. The ACT® test and WorkKeys® assessments are recognized as the leading educational assessments for use in statewide testing.

Alaska
Public high school juniors take ACT WorkKeys assessments in Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics, and Locating Information under a program called Alaska Career Ready. The goal of Alaska Career Ready is to provide families with a free resource that helps them prepare their students for the world of work. Students are eligible to earn the National Career Readiness Certificate.

Illinois
High school juniors take the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE). The PSAE includes the five tests in the ACT Plus Writing, the WorkKeys Applied Mathematics and Reading for Information assessments, and a state-developed science test. The PSAE measures high school students' progress in meeting the Illinois Learning Standards in reading, writing, mathematics, and science. Public high school students must take the PSAE as a condition of receiving a high school diploma.

Michigan
High school juniors take the Michigan Merit Exam (MME), which includes state-developed tests, the five tests in the ACT Plus Writing, and the WorkKeys Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information assessments. Students are eligible to earn the National Career Readiness Certificate.

North Dakota
High school juniors are required to take either the four multiple-choice ACT tests or the WorkKeys Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information assessments. Students are eligible to earn the National Career Readiness Certificate.

Wyoming
High school juniors are required to take either the four multiple-choice ACT tests or the WorkKeys Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information assessments. The cost for either set of assessments for all students is paid by the state. Students are eligible to earn the National Career Readiness Certificate.

Why Is Statewide Testing Important?

Many high school graduates do not have all of the skills they need to succeed in college-level coursework or workforce training. Research indicates that the skills required for workforce training beyond high school are the same as those expected of a first-year college student. In addition, an estimated 85 percent of all jobs are now classified as "skilled," meaning that they require some education beyond high school.

It's clear that improving college and workforce readiness is crucial to the development of a diverse and talented labor force. ACT suggests reexamining state standards and the content of courses in high school to ensure that they focus on high-level college and work readiness skills.