New Federal Use for ACT Scores
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was enacted in December of 2015 to replace the No Child Left Behind Act, while also upholding the national commitment to providing equal opportunity for students. This law was passed at a key time during which students are attending college in greater numbers than ever.
What Is the ESSA?
Some of the highlights in the ESSA law are:
- Greater protections for disadvantaged and high-need students.
- Requirements that all students be taught at academic standards that prepare them for success in college and careers.
- Ensures educators, families, students, and communities get information regarding student progress through annual statewide assessments.
What Does It Say about the ACT?
In addition to this, the ESSA modified provisions that affect the standardized tests given to students, including the ACT. While testing in elementary schools will be uniform for all public schools on a statewide level, states may also choose to offer nationally recognized assessments, such as the ACT test, in the high school setting. The benefit of this is the ability to provide a standardized federal accountability measure, while also encouraging more students to continue their education.
How Does This Affect Students?
The impact of these changes represents a fundamental approach in how states measure proficiency, as well as a huge change in how students will interact with educational material. Rather than focusing on state standards, the ACT test gauges student preparedness for post-secondary education or the workforce. This helps to ensure that the content is relevant to their daily lives as well as their continued academic and professional success.
Is This a Good Thing?
ESSA builds upon recent progress in national education, such as higher graduation rates, lower dropout rates, and greater numbers of college attendance than ever before. ESSA also provides the opportunity for continued improvements in student outcomes, and more importantly, a greater depth of education and knowledge that is relevant in today’s changing workplace dynamics.
While the national education system still has key deficiencies to address, the option to standardize high school testing with the use of a test like the ACT provides the opportunity to ensure that testing is completed with a more meaningful purpose in mind.
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