About ACT

Learn more about the history of ACT and how we're helping people achieve education and workplace success.

The Story of ACT

All people of every country, creed, and socioeconomic level deserve a shot at success.

ACT is a mission-driven, non-profit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. We are trusted as a national leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality assessments grounded in nearly 60 years of research. While millions of individuals take the ACT test each year, that's just one aspect of our work. From elementary school through career, ACT offers individuals a uniquely integrated set of solutions designed to provide personalized insights throughout their life.

Our Mission

Helping People Achieve Education and Workplace Success

Value Proposition


We leverage our research and credibility to validate and certify.


We provide portable, personalized experiences.


We bring our expertise into the lives of individuals and institutions.

Guiding Principles


We do everything we can to level the playing field for everyone, regardless of needs, backgrounds, or resources.


We lead the industry through our research and technology, constantly evolving as an integral part of the learning process.


We assess and appreciate each person's unique traits and skills, to help navigate toward college and career success.

Who ACT Serves

Each year, we reach millions of individuals, institutions, and employers in all 50 states and in more than 130 countries

Our programs are designed to boost lifelong learning and potential for success in schools and workplaces around the world. We're passionate about making a difference in all we do, whether it's guiding students along their learning paths; enabling companies to develop their workforce; fostering parent, teacher, and counselor understanding of student progress; guiding job seekers toward career success; or informing policymakers about education and workforce issues.


Students & Parents

ACT can help you plan your future, prepare for college and career, and achieve success.

K-12 Educators & Administrators

ACT helps you track student progress and prepare them for success through high school and beyond.

Postsecondary Professionals

ACT solutions can help you find, attract, place, and retain students at your school.

Jobseekers & Employers

ACT workforce development solutions help job seekers, employees, and business leaders, achieve career and business goals.

News & Blog

ACT Cares

As an extension of our mission, ACT offers financial and volunteer support to communities and organizations both locally—in and around Iowa City, where our headquarters is located—and around the country. We’re inspired by the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of others. 

ACT History

Our passion for making things better is foundational to everything we do at ACT.

In fact, that’s how ACT started. In 1959, University of Iowa education professor E.F. Lindquist, along with U of I Registrar Ted McCarrel, launched the ACT® test. The test broke new ground, focusing not on aptitude, but instead on academic achievement mastery of the skills and knowledge taught in schools.

Lindquist’s and McCarrel’s trailblazing assessment sparked a long history of ACT innovation. We were the first to define college and career readiness standards. The ACT was the first and is still the only college entrance exam to include a science assessment.

And while ACT initially focused on assessing college readiness, we know learning is a lifelong journey. ACT now offers more than 20 programs and services, providing support for all of life’s transitions from elementary school through career.