Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy 50th Birthday, ACT!

by Stephanie Polukis

With the “Over The Hill” jokes set aside, the ACT test has grown in both prestige and popularity since its inception 50 years ago. While the very first ACT was administered to approximately 75,000 students on November 9, 1959, this year, the number of students tested amounted to approximately 2.5 million. In fact, it is now preferred over the SAT in nearly half of the US states.

Created by Ted McCarrel and E.F. Lindquist, the American College Testing Program (ACT) was designed to be comparable to the College Board’s Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). However, instead of testing a student’s potential to do well in college-level classes, the test measured how much the student learned in high school, specifically in the areas of English, reading, math, scientific reasoning, and writing.

On August 22, 2009, approximately 150 people — including ACT CEO Richard Ferguson, Iowa Governor Chet Culver and the University of Iowa President Sally Mason — gathered at the Old Capital at the University of Iowa to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the test’s founding. Governor Culver presented Dr. Ferguson with a Certificate of Recognition, and Dr. Ferguson, in return, presented the University of Iowa with a plaque commemorating ACT’s partnership with the school. Additionally, a display featuring photos and information on the history of ACT was unveiled, and it will be viewable by the public during normal museum hours.

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