Last week, Utah Valley University hosted the 2016 Utah ACT State Organization Conference. The conference strives to bring education and career readiness professionals a broad range of topics that meet the diverse needs of preparing students for college and career success. Attendees discussed key education strategies intended to foster positive change in schools throughout Utah, and shared best practices on student success.
This year’s conference topic was Moving the Needle: What’s working for Utah Students, with Dr. Julie Hartley, Assistant Commissioner for Outreach and Access from the Utah System of Higher Education as keynote speaker. She highlighted best practices for helping students access higher education including USHE recommended high school courses via the Utah Scholars and Regents’ Scholarship track, completing at least six college credits while in high school through Concurrent Enrollment, completing at least one college application with support from an adult mentor, and exploring realities of college costs and financial aid opportunities, including setting up a college savings account, no matter how small.
The ACT (American College Testing) is one of the strongest benchmarks and most used indicators of college readiness across the county. ACT sets college readiness benchmarks, which are strong indicators of a student’s likelihood of success for entry into college level courses in the core areas of math, science, reading, and English. Colleges and universities throughout Utah and the country often use the college readiness benchmarks by subject as one way to determine a student’s placement in college courses in math, science, and writing.
Last year, ACT released the 2015 Condition of College and Career Readiness report, based on ACT test results for the 2015 graduating class. Utah is one of 13 states that allow students to take the ACT for free during their junior year with 40,629 students in the 2015 graduating class having taken the ACT (see more Utah ACT facts).