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ACT History - The evolution of the ACT

As the parent of a high school student, you're likely familiar with the ACT. However, you may be less familiar with the history of this test and how it has come to play such a prominent role in the college admissions process.

ACT History

Prior to 1959, the SAT was the only national, standardized college entrance test. As more and more students began to consider and pursue higher education options, and as more and more universities sought to increase their enrollment numbers, the need for another standardized college entrance exam emerged. The American College Testing Program (now known simply as the A-C-T) was created in 1959 to address that need. Since its inception, the ACT has expanded its programs and services, offering assessment and training services that extend beyond the college entrance process.

Starting with the February 2005 test date, the ACT added an optional Writing section to its standard format. The College Board's decision to include an essay portion on the SAT likely prompted this change.

According to the ACT's 2009 Profile Report, 45% of the 2009 high school graduating class (over 1.4 million students) took the ACT. Additionally, several states, including Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan, administer the ACT to high school juniors as part of their required state tests. All four-year colleges and universities in the US now accept ACT scores, making the ACT an appealing option for students who struggle with tests like the SAT.

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