Today, the ACT announced that the ACT Academy, a free test preparation resource for the ACT, is live. This announcement came with relatively short notice - the initial press release came about two months ago to the date, on January 23, 2018.
This announcement positions alongside their main competitor, the College Board, which launched its own free SAT test preparatory service with Khan Academy three years earlier in 2015.
The ACT Academy platform is run on OpenEd, which it acquired in 2016. OpenEd is a multimedia learning platform, which means that it has tests and online lessons that students can learn from.
Here's what you need to know...
Students Can Sign Up Right Now
Any student (or counselor) can now sign up on https://academy.act.org/ with an email and password.
What Students Learn Can Be Customized From Their ACT Score
Users are directed to a dashboard, where they are invited to take quizzes/assessments in Math, Science, English, and Reading to pinpoint what they already know. Based on how they do, they can receive targeted courses and lessons.
An 18-Day Plan Is Also Available
For students looking to start right away, the ACT Academy has a pre-set 18-day plan that students can get started on right away.
The format is fairly straightforward - watch a handful of videos, and take a quiz.
What Does It Look Like?
ACT Academy materials are hosted on OpenEd and are straightforward, including a YouTube video with followup practice questions via OpenEd.
This is what a sample ACT Academy lesson looks like - ACT Academy pulls in a relevant YouTube video and adds a description to the bottom.
When a video is complete or paused, a popup prompts the student to take an assessment.
Users do not need to be logged into their account to access the assessments. For example, you can access (at least for now) the assessment for the video above here. However, users are prompted to sign up or log into their account to complete assessments.
A Change In Focus
One notable change in focus from the press release to the now live site is the featured sources of their content. The original ACT Academy press release stated the resource would feature content from "Khan Academy, NASA, PBS".
Now, however, the highlighted content sources on the main landing page suggest different vendors like GeoGebra, SciShow, Crash Course, Flocabulary, PhET, and Mr. Nussbaum (although Khan Academy YouTube Videos are available in lessons).
ACT Still Charges For Test Prep Options
A notable continuation of ACT's legacy business model is the sale of test prep materials.
The ACT Prep Guide is $32.95
ACT Online Prep is $39.95
The ACT Prep Pack retails on Amazon for $42.71
ACT Kaplan Online Prep Live is $99.95
Have you tried ACT Academy? Will you recommend it to your students?