The most straightforward reason for progress monitoring is to track student learning over time. Such monitoring will show if a student has made expected gains in relation to the intervention provided. Monitoring can document the gains needed to catch up to peers.
Before ACT Aspire, ACT offered the Plan. The Plan was a straightforward ACT practice test designed for 10th graders. It tested the same subject areas as the ACT and used the same format: a paper and pencil multiple-choice test.
Since the Common Core has a different approach, it also requires different standardized tests to monitor student progress. This is where ACT hopes the Aspire will come in. (The PARCC and Smarter Balanced are other examples of tests being offered for the same purpose.)
The ACT still uses those scores to predict future ACT scores, based on when you took the test. For example, they would predict a higher future ACT score if an 8th grader earned a 410 versus a 10th grader, since an 8th grader has more time to learn and improve. However, the prediction is less straightforward than just adding a few ACT composite points. Furthermore, since the Aspire is so different, the prediction is not at all set in stone. (See our Aspire to ACT Score Predictions article for more on Aspire scoring and ACT predictions.)
Many reasons exist for these disappointing results: an emphasis on compliance over commitment, the need for annual improvement leading to short-term fixes at the expense of sustainable progress, narrow measures of progress resulting in narrow strategies to improve them, and the challenges of building on gradual improvements over time. The principles of continuous improvement are straightforward, but putting them into practice given these pressures has proven challenging.
WHAT DO THE TESTS COVER? Each Measure of Academic Progress is made up of parts, which are called goals. These goals are closely aligned to reflect progress toward the standards. Below is a listing of the goal areas for each test. 2b1af7f3a8