Press Releases

Latinx Students Facing COVID-19 Challenges Benefited Academically and Personally from Social and Emotional Learning, Study Finds

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Latinx middle school students primarily from low-income communities showed promising academic growth and gained interpersonal skills when they received social and emotional learning (SEL) lessons during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, according to one of the first research initiatives to examine these issues. In fact, spending more time on the SEL lessons was associated with lower odds of a discipline incident and improved math grades in 2020.

ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning Announces New Leadership and Summer Agenda

Iowa City – ACT announced today that Tina Gridiron will lead as Vice President of ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning. Gridiron, who joined the Center in 2019, brings extensive experience in philanthropic, non-profit and education leadership through her 14 years at Lumina Foundation, as Board member and Vice Chair of the Board of Grantmakers for Education, and as a student affairs professional with more than 10 years focused on diversity, inclusion and student success. Her insights and experience will focus and enhance the work of the Center with its external partners, and shape ACT’s broader efforts to close gaps in equity, opportunity and achievement in education and the workforce. Gridiron has been a long-standing champion of student voice, and consistently ensures the inclusion of diverse perspectives in designing change initiatives. She is a collaborative leader with a commitment to excellence, integrity, and results. Truly, the right fit for elevating ACT’s mission and supporting learners’ success in this season of uncertainty.

Black Lives Matter: Working Toward a More Equitable, Accessible, and Just System

A statement from interim CEO Janet Godwin I’ve watched in horror as George Floyd was murdered. I’ve witnessed the peaceful protests across our country; the anguish, the grief, the outrage, the hope. I feel those emotions, too. And it’s why I believe we must do better. ACT believes that Black Lives Matter. Black Students Matter. Equitable treatment – in education, as in all our systems – matters.

ACT and American Federation of Teachers’ Share My Lesson Join Forces to Help Teachers, Students Navigate Online Learning During COVID-19 Crisis

IOWA CITY, Iowa—When schools across the country suddenly closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s teachers were left to determine—often with uncertain resources and supports—how to effectively teach students out of the classroom. ACT, Inc. and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) announced today that they have joined forces to help teachers navigate the rapidly changing world of distance learning.

Rural Students and Students of Color Report Gaps in Availability of Mental Health Support

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 22, 2020 Rural Students and Students of Color Report Gaps in Availability of Mental Health Support ACT Releases New Report with Recommendations to Improve Mental Health Access IOWA CITY, Iowa—Roughly one in four American adolescents experience mental health challenges, yet new survey data show that rural students and students of color have more difficulty accessing help when compared to suburban and white students. According to “Supporting the Mental Health Well-Being of High School Students,” a new report from ACT focusing on the results of a 2019 survey of ACT test-takers, students of color were less likely than white students to say that they could reach out to a teacher or counselor if they needed mental health support (48% of African American students compared to 57% of white students).

ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning and Boys & Girls Clubs of America Team Up to Help More Students Go to College

IOWA CITY, Iowa — ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning and Boys & Girls Clubs of America are proud to announce a partnership that aims to help more students from underserved populations go to college by directly providing fee waivers for the ACT® test to eligible students from low-income families. The ACT measures what students have learned in school to determine their academic readiness for college.

#WhyApply Day to Inspire Students to Apply to College

IOWA CITY, Iowa—More than 8,000 U.S. high schools and nearly 600,000 students around the country will seek to boost college enrollment today (Friday, Sept. 20) as the American College Application Campaign (ACAC) holds #WhyApply Day. The day will kick off a season of activities designed to encourage more students—particularly those who are from underserved populations—to apply to college.

ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning and Univision Team Up for Research and Recommendations to Support Hispanic Students in Their Quest to Attend College

IOWA CITY, Iowa—As students head back to school, ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning and Univision Communications Inc., the leading Hispanic media company in the U.S., are issuing recommendations to help overcome higher education challenges Hispanic students face. The recommendations are found in the joint ACT-Univision report, Breaking Down Barriers: Understanding Hispanic High School Students’ Perceptions on the Transition to College.

Most US High School Students Feel Safe in School, but Many See Need for Additional Mental Health Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 4, 2019 ACT research suggests student input is important to consider when making decisions about school safety measures IOWA CITY, Iowa—The large majority of U.S. high school students feel safe in school, but many see a need for more mental health services for students, according to a new report from ACT, the nonprofit organization behind the ACT® test.

ACT, an Authority in Social and Emotional Learning, Wins Grant to Advance Development of Ed Tech Platform Through Research

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 16, 2019 New Schools Venture Fund grant is a recognition of ACT’s innovative work in the area of social and emotional learning designed to help students succeed in and out of school. IOWA CITY, Iowa—ACT announced today that NewSchools Venture Fund, a national nonprofit that invests in educators and innovators who want to reimagine learning, has awarded the nonprofit learning, measurement and navigation organization a grant to advance its work on social and emotional skills. The grant, which is typically awarded to early-stage innovators and educators, rather than established organizations such as ACT, will support further development of ACT Tessera, a social and emotional skills measurement program, including the ability to conduct critical research among underserved learners. Funding will also provide a real world application to demonstrate the efficacy of the ACT Tessera Teacher Playbook for improving social and emotional skills.

ACT Acquires American College Application Campaign (ACAC)

January 23, 2019-IOWA CITY, Iowa—ACT, the nonprofit learning, measurement and navigation organization behind the ACT® test, announced today it has acquired the American College Application Campaign® (ACAC) from the American Council on Education® (ACE®). ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning, which focuses on closing gaps in equity, opportunity and achievement for underserved populations and working learners, will oversee and continue to expand the campaign.

Digital Divide Compounds U.S. Education Equity Problem, First-of-Its-Kind Survey Reveals

ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning Offers Policy Solutions Focused on Increasing Access IOWA CITY, Iowa, Sept. 6, 2018 — The digital divide, the gap between students who lack access to technology and those students who have it, is compounding equity problems within U.S. schools, according to new research from ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning. Underserved students with access to only one electronic device in their home — oftentimes only a cell phone — may face challenges that don’t exist for their peers in terms of completing schoolwork.

New Documentary Examines Career Pathways of Individuals Who Are ‘Beating the Odds’ Despite Adversity

Costa Mesa, Calif., June 4, 2018 – Beginning June 3, a new one-hour documentary special, “Beating the Odds,” will be streaming at and air nationally on public television. Produced by career exploration nonprofit Roadtrip Nation, and presented by KQED, “Beating the Odds” follows three college students as they explore careers through a series of interviews with remarkable professionals who have overcome life challenges to succeed in their fields. The college students are overcoming obstacles of their own, including opioid-addicted parents, navigating the foster care system, and surviving poverty.

Steps2College Launches as New Way to Help High School Seniors

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Sept. 18, 2017— In an unprecedented collaboration, higher education advocates and leaders are partnering on a new effort that supplements their existing work to help high school students learn about, apply for, and transition into college.

Danger Time for College Students: Working at a Job More than 15 Hours a Week May do More Harm Than Good, Especially for Underserved Students

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Aug. 28, 2017—Working more than 15 hours a week while in college may do more harm than good for college students from underserved backgrounds, according to a new report from the ACT Center for Equity for Learning. The result of working more hours contributes to “disparities in students’ academic and career success” is one of the findings of “Who Does Work Work For? Understanding Equity in Working Learner College and Career Success.”

ACT Establishes ACT Center for Equity in Learning

IOWA CITY, Iowa—ACT today announced the establishment of the ACT Center for Equity in Learning. The Center will advance ACT’s nonprofit mission to help people achieve success in education and the workplace through partnerships, research and initiatives aimed at closing gaps in equity and achievement for underserved learners.